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Whining about the cooption of the counter culture by the mainstream

My response there:

Err, this is how markets work.

So there\’s a whole bunch of experimentation out there as people try different ways of doing things. Some of these are entirely crap and reach three and a half people. Some of them are pretty darn good and snowball into wider popularity.

This is as true of music styles, bands, as it is of bars of chocolate or newspapers.

Recall, This very newspaper, The (Manchester) Guardian was founded to fight for free trade, against the Corn Laws. Very much a minority pursuit at the time. Joseph Rowntree (and some of the other Quaker chocolate families) decided that a different version of capitalism might be worth a try. Worked pretty well.

Mozart/Beethoven/Louis Armstrong/Charlie Parker/BB King/Chuck Berry etc etc etc all started out using a very much minority taste or style and because it appealed to people it became more widely popular.

As I say, this is just how markets work.

Experimentation and then the spread of the good experiments and the extinction of the bad. In music, products, methods of organisation, whatever.

2 thoughts on “Whining about the cooption of the counter culture by the mainstream”

  1. I suspect this piece is an in-house article that gets passed around from hack to hack. “This month it’s your turn to change a few of the examples in the mainstream-rips-off-the-subculture piece”.

    (Originally, this piece came from a student magazine in 1991. In fact it ran in every student magazine in 1991. And has run in every issue of every student magazine ever since).

  2. Harkin is whining because his favourite positional goods aren’t as exclusive as they used to be. It’s all about social status.

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