In Defense of Disco Response

In this article Richard Dyer discusses many different things but something I found interesting was the view of capitalism in disco. He points out that disco is “irredeemably capitalistic’ both in how it is produced and how it is expressed. No matter how you look at it the goal is to make money and more money. He does point out that it is produced my an industry that is capitalistic as well which I felt didn’t even need to be explained. The music industry has always been about making money and even the individuals who are in it for pleasure begin to focus more on money making in the end.

He also mentioned tow kinds of music that are set against disco – folk and rock. I didn’t really understand the point that he was trying to make here. though. I was confused, is he saying that folk and rock music are more authentic and genuine when sets against disco. If so, why is it more authentic, he says that they are “produced for the people, but by them”, is disco music not produced by people for people too? Overall, I was just confused by what he was trying to say here.

Jumping back into something I did understand or felt I understood was the issues of Cultural Production in disco. Dyer points out that disco is founded on two contradictions; production for profit and use, and regulation on the latter. Basically even though disco is produced by capitalist, it isn’t meant for capitalist in the end. They create they trends and make money from it but beyond that everything else is left up to consumers.

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One Response to In Defense of Disco Response

  1. It would almost seem that disco was viewed as a type of sell-out, ultra-commercial venture that threatened the impression of “realness” and artistry in rock; disco’s main competition at the time. In fact, to the anti-disco audience, disco wasn’t viewed as having any more worth or artistic capitol, other than its marketability. Many rock fans felt that their music was being displaced by this “lesser music” -a music that they associated with queer culture, which was often greeted with overt intolerance and bigotry.

    Having written and produced for nearly every popular genre, and coming from a rock background, I disagree with some of the disco-hating rock folks who quickly dismiss disco as be a lesser form of music. Some of the most elaborate arrangements in the late 70’s came from disco and helped to create a multi-functional type of music that was not only conducive to dancing, but that also created a sonic fullness and excitement that became the measuring stick by which later dance oriented pop music would be held to. And, to your point, pop music has always been about selling the most amount of music. It’s hard to fault a genre for that, just so that there is still demand for it and that the powerful decision makers in music aren’t shoving it down our throats. Echem, MTV!? Disney Inc.!?

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