On Theodore Adorno’s “How to Look at Television”

To suit his or her audience’s taste, every artist makes music in a certain way. In an ideal world, music would be free of the influence of the artist’s awareness of his audience, “art pour l’art” (art for art’s sake) as referred to in Theodor Adorno’s How to Look at Television. In reality though, this is seldom the case; how much of a priority preserving this image is is ultimately the prerogative of the artist. The most dangerous thing an artist can do is become apathetic and losing sight of the “matter” of his music over “technique” is the quickest way to ensure the impending death of a genre becomes reality. “What that means is that matter matters more than art; … what matters to art is its matter, what it’s about, the ideas it communicates to its audience.”

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