My recent online conversation with Sarah Cahill about what makes a piece of music classic got me thinking about an article I read a few years ago about the making of trends and the people who decide what they are. In every society, apparently, there are people who are the leaders of new trends and there are the followers of those movements. Who decides what is popular and what will sell?
This article, as I remember it, focused on a new business that was hiring people who had been identified as trendy by their peers. The company was then paying them to mention products to their friends to see if these new items would become hot commodities. At parties and other social gatherings, these “trend setters” would either wear these new fashions or mention these products repeatedly in conversation until they became popular. If they could sway their friends, it was believed that this was a good test of what the market would bear.
So, if you mention something often enough, does it become a part of the general consciousness? (Denny Crane) It really got me thinking about the way that we market classical music and who determines what is popular or what will get programmed on the next subscription series (Denny Crane). Who has the power? Maybe there are “trend setters” in the classical music world who can persuade others to pay attention to the new work of a promising composer? (Denny Crane) Maybe all these people have to do is simply mention a work or a composer over and over until everyone is talking about it? (Denny Crane)
Now, if you are a Boston Legal fan, you will know that Denny Crane is just a character on a TV show played by William Shatner. He makes himself a legend in the legal world by constantly mentioning his name (Denny Crane!). Even if you don’t already watch the show, I bet I’ve got you wondering….