How hard you have to work not to fail
Over at musicscribe.com, David Bruce Murray is digging into gospel music, labor, and economies of scale in southern gospel. Nothing too shocking if you pay attention to gospel music regularly, but the numbers do put what we already suspected into an interesting perspective. Read both posts (here and here, in that order). Of the several questions his numbers give rise to, I’m particularly curious about the historical angle: what would a similar analysis of a comparable cross-section of talent 15, 30 and 45 years ago look like?
Many of DBM’s conclusions pivot on his definition of a “big date,” a decently useful measuring stick of how hard a group has to work for its success. It’d be fascinating and informative to know how “hard” groups worked in the past, as measured by a DBMesque analysis of big dates, multi-day events, and dates-per-month. To the SN archives, Robin!
This kind of analysis, of course, has its limitations. At some point, number crunching like this only confirms, rather than diagnoses, the problem. A group like the Kingsmen, for instance, is a good example: comparing their dates-worked and percentage of “big dates” in 2006 to 1976 would yield a fascinating result, I’m sure. But what accounts for the result - changes in taste and style of both performers and fans, socio-cultural shifts within evangelicalism, technology and its effect on music markets - and in what proportion each factor ought to be weighted, remains unilluminated.
That said, more analysis along these lines seems worth pursuing.Email this Post