The price of music

Publish date 24-10-2020

by Mauro Tabasso

Quality control! It is my self-defense when in the house they accuse me of uncorking a few bottles to taste its contents (I am not talking about orange soda...). Quality is important. Today its control is an indispensable prerogative in the production of any good. So in my small way I contribute with commitment and spirit of service to a strict and objective monitoring of our wine production. They should be grateful. But quality is something that should be built, more than controlled. It is what we would like to find in us and around us, in our lives, in our sleep, in interpersonal relationships, in everyday things (clothes, cars, toothpaste...), in the people we frequent. We often struggle to see qualities in us (we find it easier to list defects), and this makes us indisposed to find them in others, however we are generally quite convinced that we know how to distinguish them, how to recognize a good person from a bad one, or a good product from a poor one. Leaving aside judgment about people (and ourselves), and stopping to talk about material goods, we are generally quite convinced that the quality of something is related to its price. We often choose to buy a product based on its value for money, not being willing to spend more than we think we can afford or it seems right. I like taggiasco extra virgin olive oil but a decent taggiasco exceeds 10 euros per liter (bulk), and consuming a lot of it I do not always have the opportunity or the will to spend them. 
I often settle for a slightly cheaper tier oil, but it is a compromise, not a choice made only on an organoleptic basis or on what would give my taste. And (just like you) the reasoning I make for oil I do for all the products of daily use of my family, since I have always (instead of being a musician) I deal with shopping and home economics; ask me how much a liter of softener costs and I will amaze you. The purchases we make often represent a compromise between our aspiration and what we can, want or decide to afford, reasoning according to our yardstick and priorities. Except in music. If we talk about music, an asset of very wide consumption, it becomes difficult to attribute a real quality (and also a value) to the things we consume. In addition, there are no price ranges to diversify the product, as for oil, wine, clothing. The price of music (I'm talking about the playable one) is always the same, whether we buy a file of Sting, the Berlin Philharmonic or one by Rocco Hunt. There is only one price range, there are no criteria that inspire us to distinguish what is of quality from what is not, what is achieved for example with the use of real musicians rather than virtual musicians, what required some care from what has been made wholesale, a lot per kilo. In music the production chain has no weight on the price of the finished product. We tend to judge quality what we like and shoddy what we don't like. Mind you, my reasoning is neither polemical nor sententious. I just wonder why we treat oil one way and music in another. Think about it, if you like, and give yourself an answer, but try to look at music from this perspective. I think, indeed I am sure, that (regardless of price) our judgment always passes from our degree of information, culture, education. Knowledge, understanding, awareness, our degree of consciousness make our judgment freer, less influenceable, less manipulative. Quality control over my life (and my cellar!) I can (and I want to) do it just me.

Mauro Tabasso
Diapason - column of Nuovo Progetto

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