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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bottom of the food-chain

It's fundraising time again for public radio station WGBH. The station closes its fiscal books for the year tomorrow at midnight, and this week they have been in high-gear selling last-minute online memberships with various enticing promotions and incentives for those who contribute.

I support them, but their fundraising campaigns do irritate me to no end. Please renew your membership so that the endless fund raising blabber will cease!

The other day I heard an interesting and novel pitch from one of their radio announcers. It was presented during the morning classical music block, and it goes something like this:

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed his pianos sonatas, so the pianist Marc-André Hamelin could record them, so that WGBH can offer his CD to you as a gift with your WGBH membership.

It's the ecological food-chain concept: Small fish (composers) eat plankton and invent great music, which bigger fish (performers) feast on. Even larger fish (public radio) consume them, and finally the king of the ocean (the public) is nourished from among the largest of fish in the food-chain. Each step along the way adds additional value, until at the end you have a marketable consumer-ready product, like Micky D's McFish Sandwich.

Interesting concept, but I have trouble thinking of Franz Joseph Haydn as a minnow waiting to be swallowed up en masse along with other tiny fish in his school.

Are composers really at the bottom of the food-chain?


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Contemplate those sardines.


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