May 28, 2007

Musician as Lab Rat

There's a good project in looking at why post-war North America generated so much social and psychological research. And the character of that research is often darkly fascinating; the McGill sensory deprivation experiments present an opportunity to wonder how much detail you need on the behavioural consequences of locking people in white rooms.

Lucky for us in Australia then that our concerns are more mercantile when it comes to social research. To wit, an RMIT student is examining the business sense of musicians. My favourite quote from the promo is this: "The study will test how musicians react when asked to carry out simple management tasks". My fond hope is that there's a question which tests the artist's ability to maximise transactional efficiency in setting pharmaceutical supply.

The best part of this project is that it's both insane and demeaning. The premise seems to be to test whether musicians have the cerebellar wherewithal to do without the massive business nous injected by managers and labels. Imagine a world without Malcolm McLaren: is it really possible? It's hard to imagine anyone having any sort of knowledge of music from, say, Mozart onwards without forming a fairly jaundiced view of the general human worth of publishers, label owners and managers (Ahmet Ertegun excepted).

My lofty pronouncement of the day is, therefore, that no research projects to do with the music business should be allowed to proceed unless the candidate can demonstrate knowledge of the works of Steve Albini and Dave Gedge.

posted on May 28, 2007 at 12:53 PM by darren.
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