SOCI 3005 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Ernst Bloch, The Kenyon Review, Culture Industry

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13 Aug 2016
Department
Course
Week 4 – 27 th
January 2016
Theodor W. Adorno, "On Popular Music " in Essays on music (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2002 [1941]), 437-469.
Theodor W. Adorno, "Radio Music," Kenyon Review 17 (1945), 208-217.
Ernst Bloch, "Rage and Merriment," in Heritage of Our Times (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991
[1929]), 41-43.
Adorno provides a good explanation of how art forms such as music have slowly been
transformed into commodities, and now have become part of the culture industry. Adorno puts
focus on the standardization of music, whereby he wants us to really focus on the fact that the
new music that is being produced is actually the same. Adorno also pushes forward the fact that
this standardization of popular music actually fosters passive listeners. What he means here is
that we don’t really pay attention to what we are listening. We really do not seek out particular
meanings with popular songs. Furthermore, because of this standardization and mechanization of
popular music, we are already in that position whereby we can expect a certain singer to play a
certain kind of song.
The problem I believe inherently begins with when we commodity something, whether
its art, public places, music and etc. With commodification the focus shifts from the consumer to
the producer. Since most producers aim for profit maximization they aim to produce services,
music in this case, with the least amount of cost. I personally believe the aspect of
standardization within any industry actually takes place in order to minimize costs. For example,
lets look at the music industry. Once there is a standardized production house established, which
has specific kind of instruments, and already produces a certain genre of music, it would cost that
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