How do we value music, what is it worth? And what does it mean to us?

The way music is perceived and valued now is completely different to how it was say when opera was the main source of music in the late 17th century early 18th, it was just a source of entertainment but now it is used all the time during everyday life. Its one of those things that once you start to think about it music is everywhere you go now and if we didn’t have it our experiences even of little things like going into a shop would be extremely different. I want too look at not just the value being a money sided value but also the value it has on our life as a whole.

The value of music has changed drastically over the years and I think that it has actually lost its value as the demographic from when classical music and operas where the ‘in’ thing too now is completely different. Classical music was predominately upperclass, it would be played at a dinner in someones house or an event of some kind and people would pay for not just one person but a whole orchestra to play where as now a solo artist can accompany themselves via them being able to play multiple instruments or using software.

The biggest part in which I think music has a value is through music with a political meaning. Music has been used as a political tool as it allows musicians to be able to share their political message world wide to a huge audience, as with music being everywhere it isn’t hard to get your message broadcasted when it is being expressed through a song. Wether it be a song to protest or to simply share a message the songwriter has the opportunity to not just share but also influence the consumer to feel a certain way about something or even influence them to do something for example, ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, this is a political song about wanting peace and was a protest against war.

“Music is the weapon of the future; music is the weapon of the progressives; music is the weapon of the givers of life.”Fela Kuti

(Pop Grenade, 30th April 2015, page 11)(1)

This quote really does make you realise the influence that music can have on people, and that it can be used as a weapon, music has the power to influence and bring together a nation of people. The meaning behind a lot of these political songs gives them a value of respect, meaning and relativity to people.

The book ‘ Pop Grenade, then, is a series of personal dispatches from critical moments when music has been used as an agent of change, or as Fela Kuti put it, as a weapon.’ (1) This book shows how music is influenced from people values on culture, political views and racial views all in which can be expressed through music just like Public enemy did.

Another way in which music is valued is in having a price value. This starting off as vinyl then too cassette, Cd and now as audio files. Each way of listening to music has slowly died off as a new way to own music has come out which obviously was the intention of the producer but now with the audio files that can be easily downloaded without paying the value of owning a physical copy has declined. Streaming music has increased, especially this year, it has overtaken stats of the physical format of music.

‘The global music market achieved a key milestone in 2015 as digital became the primary revenue stream for recorded music, overtaking sales of physical formats. Digital revenues now account for 45 percent of total revenues, compared to 39 per cent for physical sales.’ (http://www.ifpi.org/facts-and-stats.php)

Whereas consumers used to purchase a cd at around £10 they can now pay £9.99 a month for unlimited plays and access to a worldwide music library… Personally I think thats great value for money which clearly others do too this backed up from the increase shown on the stats in people now streaming music.

On the other hand some consumers have a sentimental value when it comes to music and this can be shown through the fact that people are still purchasing music and not just illegally downloading it for free. The vinyl for me has a sentimental value, as the price of a vinyl isn’t cheap so when it comes to buying one you really do have to have that urge or that reason as too why your buying it, or even as a record collector,  record collecting I think has a sentimental vibe to it. You collect all these vinyls just as dead stock on a shelf but each one really does have a story behind why you bought it or even who bought it for you/how you came to own it. The Rise in records sales has increased recently-

‘Vinyl has seen a revival in the past few years, with sales increasing by 54.7 per cent in 2014 alone to US$346.8 million. The leading market for vinyl sales is the US, where the market was worth US$181.6 million last year, up 52.8 per cent. The top 10 market with the highest growth was Australia, where vinyl sales climbed 127.0 per cent.’

(http://www.ifpi.org/news/IFPI-publishes-global-vinyl-market-details) (17th April 2015)

For me when I buy records each one has a story behind why I have bought it even if it is as simple as the one song reminds me of a good/sad time. Its the sentimental value behind it that keeps me consuming this physical format of music. Each persons perception of the value of music to them is completely different but for me as a musician I cannot give it a value, its priceless, Simply because it gives me opportunities to express not only the way I feel but also myself.

 

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