It is hard to make a clear definition of what is artistic, and what is commercial in the world of musical culture. Even more confusing is the concept of "commercial art", or that art and music for the purpose of commercialism can actually be a genre or specification of a high art. For all intents and purposes, there are an infinite number of variations that lead to a potentially infinite grey area between "art" and "commercialism." To this end, this study will examine all works on a spectrum that exists along a delineated axis. On one side is the commercial aspect, and on the other side is the artistic aspect of one's work. To be considered artistic, a work must have merit as an artistic piece without necessarily justifying itself by being a paid work. This does not mean that commissioned works cannot be artistic, but the institution and context within which that institution uses the music and the manner in which the music was intended play a central role in determining its place in the spectrum.
[...] Interestingly enough he was also commissioned for the opera The Ghost of Versailles (1992), which some may consider an artistic commission, but there has been a bit of debate on the supposed “legitimacy” of art institutions making money off of their commissions, for example the Metropolitan Opera, which in this case bankrolled this particular work. On one hand, the genre exists within the context of a high art community, but on the other hand it is within the realm of music that was used for the purpose of making money. [...]
[...] In this world of music the primary intention of the work is to make money or at least be a success in a commercial market, and other concerns are keeping the market fresh and new. For video game composers like George Fat Sanger, the most interesting concept of new video games is appropriateness of music and interactivity of sound. A new concept, most notably seen in recent games (Sanger, p 234) is having music that dynamically shifts along with the game play in a manner that is fitting to the situational needs of the composer. [...]
[...] In either of these cases, is the creator being paid? And if they are, by whom? How will this piece be used, and in what contexts can it later be observed? Primarily, if the piece was not commissioned, and the artist is not in any way being compensated for their work, and even had to fund the performance of the work with their own resources, then we can if nothing else say that the intent was artistic. But what if the product includes only pictures of celebrities and clipped newspaper ads for beer or soda companies? [...]
[...] When someone hears a bright fanfare of trumpets or an ominous march in the low register in minor keys they often think of Star Wars, and the associations that result are interesting because of the fact that the music has been directly associated with a mostly nonmusical concept. To me, this provides a perspective that must be considered when composing in the commercial or artistic ends of the spectrum, because of the fact that a composer must realize that the modern audience has made these associations, and because of this the context of their work includes this fact. [...]
[...] Along this vein, we have the world of movie composers, who may or may not be known for their work outside of films but are primarily known for their compositional technique in relaying musical ideas in movies. The paper will not dwell quite as long in this area other than to say that like the world of video game music, a few names have come to dominance and it is very difficult for other musicians to edge their way into the scoring jobs. [...]
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