How New Music Succeeds

A widely held assumption about music in general is that audiences separate along lines of aesthetics. [. . . ] In this essay I suggest that audiences of new music listeners separate not because of aesthetic barriers, but due to the specific mechanics through which music is created, presented, and consumed.  In order to address this point, every aspect of a musical production must be considered, not just the specific musical content being presented at a concert or a show.


A lot of rock criticism focuses on matters of taste, but Sam Hillmer suggests a more comprehensive and rigorous means of describing the conditions under which new music can be successful. For example, Hillmer makes the distinction between concerts and shows, terms I had always considered interchangeable.

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