There has always been the debate about how “Art” should be created. Plenty of “artists” claim art is not something that should ever be created with it’s profitability in mind. It’s always said that commercialism ruins the art, whether it be painting, photography, music, film, writing, etc.
We got a big dose this year of how the fine art community has been affected by what sells with “Exit Through The Gift Shop”. Add to that the flow of art dealers being appointed curators that started with Jeffrey Deitch and MOCA, and we see the community finely embracing the idea that “great” art is only great because someone wants it on their wall. Commercialism was always in fine art, no one ever wanted to admit it. You want proof? Every single one of “The Masters” made a very nice living painting commissioned pieces. They weren’t the ultimate “artisans” creating only from passion and for their own release. They created for purpose, for money, as a job.
It’s an interesting debate when you move the same discussion over to music. People who write music to be commercially successful rarely seem to be commercially successful, and if they admit such things would be labeled “sell-outs’. Musicians are somehow supposed to be “artists” who only make music to express their emotions. It’s one of the most popular defenses towards why people think they should be able to steal music.
Art however, IS commercial. Art has always BEEN commercial, and that is what has made it brilliant and gorgeous and life-affecting. Yes, life-affecting, exactly the same way a brilliant marketing campaign can be.
So how do we start accepting that music made for a specific commercially marketable purpose is okay? How do we even know it can turn out palatable? Easy. Cudi, Rostam (Vampire Weekend), and Bethany (Best Coast) went out and proved it can. “All Summer” only happened because of Converse.
Converse challenged these artists to make something that would make Converse seem cool across 3 fan-bases, and these artists gladly did so, and did so with so much dedication and focus that they turned it into one of the best Summer songs ever written. They could have half-assed the job, they could have taken some crappy throw away ideas and done just enough, but they did their job as creators with excellence and wound up adding even more buzz to their already peaking levels. Is Converse selling more shoes for footing the bill? I hope so, because it means more potentially spectacular marketing driven music.
Good for Converse. Good for music. Well done.
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