Pop or Passion

If you have a long enough career in the creative industries (and most notably the music industry), you’ll almost certainly have to make a choice between “passion” and “pop”. Do you carry on doing what you’re doing purely for the love of it (probably for little reward), or do you popularise your product (maybe for more cash)?

Going down the “pop” route doesn’t necessarily mean selling out, and certainly doesn’t guarantee you the big bucks. But it’s important to know where you stand, so that you don’t fall between two stools.

Marketing expert and arch blogger Seth Godin explains it all, and with diagrams too!

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4 thoughts on “Pop or Passion

  1. Andrew Taylor 8 May, 2008 — 5:57 pm

    I understand this quite well, from the pressures of trying to maintain my artistic integrity by programming great pieces that the Aldworth Philharmonic want to perform (passion), with those that are audience grabbers (pop).

    I imagine it’s a bit easier for us, because we’re a registered charity, so only need to make enough money to survive, rather than to make a profit (although any profit we do make can be poured back into fantastic education projects).

    It’s interesting about the perceived lack of middle ground. The approach the Aldworth Philharmonic has taken is to popularise the organisation with audience development schemes and giving audiences the feel of being ‘part of the performance’, in a way. This feeling of involvement helps to ‘popularise our passion’, i.e. programme more adventurous works, including many new commissions. We must have hit a sweet spot, as the most popular piece performed at our main concert in January was the commissioned work, which certainly wasn’t Classic FM material, if you get my drift. Very satisfying!

    All that said, the dilemma is easier for us because there are enough audience pleasing pieces which are genuinely great pieces of the classical repertoire. There is absolutely no need to go down the road of ‘dumbing down’ classical music, in my opinion – but try telling that to the record companies as they promote another good looking girly string quartet playing ‘classical’ music to a backing track. Sure, it’s some people’s cup of tea and good luck to them, if they like it, but don’t label it as classical music, please!

    All very interesting. I might even write my own blog entry as I’ve hardly had time to order my thoughts, here!

  2. Andrew Taylor 8 May, 2008 — 5:57 pm

    I understand this quite well, from the pressures of trying to maintain my artistic integrity by programming great pieces that the Aldworth Philharmonic want to perform (passion), with those that are audience grabbers (pop).

    I imagine it’s a bit easier for us, because we’re a registered charity, so only need to make enough money to survive, rather than to make a profit (although any profit we do make can be poured back into fantastic education projects).

    It’s interesting about the perceived lack of middle ground. The approach the Aldworth Philharmonic has taken is to popularise the organisation with audience development schemes and giving audiences the feel of being ‘part of the performance’, in a way. This feeling of involvement helps to ‘popularise our passion’, i.e. programme more adventurous works, including many new commissions. We must have hit a sweet spot, as the most popular piece performed at our main concert in January was the commissioned work, which certainly wasn’t Classic FM material, if you get my drift. Very satisfying!

    All that said, the dilemma is easier for us because there are enough audience pleasing pieces which are genuinely great pieces of the classical repertoire. There is absolutely no need to go down the road of ‘dumbing down’ classical music, in my opinion – but try telling that to the record companies as they promote another good looking girly string quartet playing ‘classical’ music to a backing track. Sure, it’s some people’s cup of tea and good luck to them, if they like it, but don’t label it as classical music, please!

    All very interesting. I might even write my own blog entry as I’ve hardly had time to order my thoughts, here!

  3. Interesting stuff, Andy. We’ll have to have a good natter about it and how it differs in our respective “scenes” next time we see each other. You need to get your brother-in-law married off to Claire so that we’ve got a wedding to meet up at. Can’t wait until next Christmas!

    🙂

  4. Interesting stuff, Andy. We’ll have to have a good natter about it and how it differs in our respective “scenes” next time we see each other. You need to get your brother-in-law married off to Claire so that we’ve got a wedding to meet up at. Can’t wait until next Christmas!

    🙂

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