Just for fun, here’s a thought experiment. It illustrates that things in the world of music (and the business of music) need not necessarily be configured the way they are…
If music was treated like sport:
- Schools would have plenty of equipment and kids would have places to play and practice
- People who didn’t do any music at all would be considered a bit lazy by their peers
- Professional musicians wouldn’t get asked by their parents when they were going to get a real job
- Most people would play music and almost none of them would expect money for it
- Every weekend, you’d get a televised battle of the bands
- Players in top acts would change bands for millions of dollars
- Every four years, the best amateur acts would come together for the largest music festival on earth
- There’d be significant funding for community music programmes
- Most bands would have coaches as well as managers (and a physiotherapist?)
- Schools, pubs, churches, villages, and even workplaces would have their own bands
- If you went to a gig with a videocamera, you wouldn’t be considered a thief
- Big acts would sell season tickets at their own venues
- Government-funded television campaigns would encourage non-musicians to take up an instrument and practice for just 30 minutes a day…
- Children from the age of 6 would know all the stats on their favourite bands
- There’d be movies where people escaped from POW camps by playing the guitar
- TV channels would get into bidding wars for the rights to show concerts
- All the top bands would regularly hold auditions for new members
- You’d join your first band at the age of five
- The more musically inclined would routinely play in different bands in different genres
- Audiences would bet on the outcome of concerts
- University scholarships would be awarded on musical aptitude
- Kids would dream of one day representing their country in Hip Hop
- You’d play another genre of music in Summer - jazz is a Winter music
- Band members would switch instruments from time to time (she’s been on drums all season - let’s give her a turn on vocals)
- Bands would have reserves
- You could swap out every member of a group and it’d still be the same band
- In American teen films, trombonists would beat up the kid who got picked last for the orchestra
And so on… Of course music is not sport. It’s not even like sport. But it’s interesting to think through the things that we do in a different field of human endeavour, and realise that the way that we approach music and the business of music is not a logical necessity - it’s just how we’ve chosen to put it together.
And since that’s true, we can choose to do it a different way.
Personally, I like the idea of some of these outcomes. Especially the first one. I’m sure you can add some of your own too.
If music was sport… what else would be different?