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Old 01-19-2009, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Artists or Entertainers?

Should musicians be 'artists', or 'entertainers'? Here's what I mean.

Some musicians would regard themselves as 'artists'. They believe they should maintain their 'artistic integrity', 'dedicate themselves to their art', and not care what the audience thinks.

Other musicians regard themselves as primarily 'entertainers', and create music that the audience will enjoy. After all, many other products are created to please the consumer: cars, food, etc. Why should music be different?

If you will, let me illustrate this dichotomy with an example from jazz history. Louis Armstrong played great jazz. Nevertheless, he was regarded by Dizzy Gillespie as merely an entertainer, who famously called him a "plantation character". I'm sure anyone here can think of examples in rock and metal.

Whatever floats the musicians' boat, I guess. However, I do favor the more practical 'entertainers' over pretentious 'artists'.

I'm not advocating that everything be bland pop, crooners, and Top 40. After all, I count the Melvins and Tad among my favorite bands. Still, my tastes are fairly mainstream: Metallica, Megadeth, AIC, and a lot of classic rock. I do tire of people castigating a band when it achieves mainstream status.

Peace.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Both. Some musicians, Alice Cooper as an example, like to entertain.

Others, such as Sigur Ros, are more like artists, painting/sculpting/whatever a sonic piece if you will.

There are others that do both, such as David Bowie.

Theres your simple answer.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was sort of wanting to see how many people would say 'both'.

A pure entertainer might never extend himself artistically. For example, using only power chords, because most of his audience doesn't demand it. Someone who wants to entertain and show off his technique is best, because he can reach a large audience and extend his artistic vision.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Another vote for both here. It just totally depends on the person for me. I don't think I'd describe the entertainers as "practical" and the artists as "pretentious" though.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Another vote for both here. It just totally depends on the person for me. I don't think I'd describe the entertainers as "practical" and the artists as "pretentious" though.
Well, not all artists are pretentious, I admit. (Guess I should have phrased it differently.) And entertainers can certainly display a great amount of artistic talent.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Entertainers = pop musicians

Musicians = everyone else
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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whats your definition of a pop musician though? Stereolab have made pop albums, i wouldnt classify them as entertainers though.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I should have been more explicit...

Entertainers = popular musicians
Musicians = everyone else
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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They should be called buttplugs.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I should have been more explicit...

Entertainers = popular musicians
Musicians = everyone else
I dont mean to be pedantic but a musician can become a popular musician with the strength of their material. Case in point Led Zeppelin
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