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Money Changes Everything

Money Changes Everything

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Published by tonycushman
Theodor Adorno on the Progressive Potential of Rock Music - by Tony Cushman (The University of King's College, Contemporary Studies Program - Honours Thesis, March 2008)
Theodor Adorno on the Progressive Potential of Rock Music - by Tony Cushman (The University of King's College, Contemporary Studies Program - Honours Thesis, March 2008)

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Published by: tonycushman on Apr 06, 2008
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09/27/2012

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Money Changes Everything 
 
Theodor Adorno on the Progressive Potential of Rock MusicDisillusioned words like bullets bark As human gods aim for their mark Made everything from toy guns that spark To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark It's easy to see without looking too farThat not muchIs really sacred.-Bob Dylan,
 It’s Alright, Ma(I’m Only Bleeding)
, 1965Anthony Cushman – b00412384Contemporary Studies Program - Honours ThesisThesis Advisor – Prof. Steven BoosMarch 2008
 
 
Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Theoretical Framework
Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory 4
Case Study
The History of the Music Industry 14Conclusion 25
Epilogue
Digital Downloads and Industry Decline 27 References 29
 
 
Introduction
“The reality is, to me, I don’t really see it as a business. I’m still one of thosepeople that see music as art, and maybe it’s really naïve, but maybe I’m thefuture”.
-M.I.A.
, Singer-rapper
Theodor Adorno’s skeptical conception of modern consumer society- dubbed‘The Culture Industry’- is captured poetically in Bob Dylan’s
 It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
. The epic tune has been referred to as ‘the ultimate protest song’ because itexpresses a general disapproval of the modern world. The lyrics are vigorously nihilistic,claiming that “It's easy to see without looking too far/ That not much/ Is really sacred”(Bob Dylan,
 It’s Alright, Ma
, 1965). The narrator’s prime target is capitalism, specificallythe way in which the system’s pragmatist ideology neutralizes all other values. Dylansuggests that instrumental reason subjects absolutes such as beauty to financialcalculations, describing businessmen that “cultivate their flowers to be nothing more thansomething they invest in” (Ibid).
 
The culture industry’s amoral manufacturing has “madeeverything from toy guns that spark/ To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark”(Ibid). Dylan is “disillusioned” (Ibid) by the “phony” (Ibid) commodity form thattraditional values are reduced to and “Advertising signs that con you” (Ibid) by divertingfrom this fact. Adorno argues that the whole of culture is consumed by administration inthis way. Like Dylan, he suggests that the problematic inherent in the culture industry isso deeply rooted that “there is no sense in trying” (Ibid) to displace it.Adorno’s aesthetic theory is alternately hopeful and despondent: he is a strong believer in the social potential of art yet markedly pessimistic about its realization in

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