virus: Free Market Memetics (was: Watching)

Tim Rhodes (
Sat, 9 Jan 1999 11:42:41 -0800

Brendan Rainford wrote:

>Popular music is a zeitgeist.
>It represents what the majority of people feel like.


>Music itself is just a way of people being able to express themselves,
>the various charts are a way of showing how the people see life.

Although I agree with much of what you've said, want to question the assumption on which these two sentences are based (and one which lies at the heart of the supposed democracy of the "Free Market" ): Is the product which sells the best really a reflection of "what the people want"?

With cultural products (music, art, movies, TV and info-tainment) I don't think we can claim a direct link between what people buy and how they feel about their world. You listen to the music that is available. This effects how you feel about the world and these effects are reflected in your next purchase. (Again, limited by the pool of available musics.) Which effects how you feel and what you buy next, and so on. I think the relationship is a dynamic one and in large part prescribed by the limitations on the pool of avialible music. I suspect that the boundries of what is available is what really controls the movements of this dynamic relationship.

-Prof. Tim