09 June 2009

Credit and Credibility

Fascinated to read about Ian Svenonius' theory about the similarity between the role of DJ and the role of stockbroker, via And You May Find Yourself...:
The DJ-as-artist echoes the new role of the bourgeois as stockbroker/trader; designator of worth and handler of commodities. With the exportation of industrialism the third world and the new role of the imperialist as loan shark/investor, the grooming of the DJ as high priest/star-artist of the culture is a necessary part of ensuring the culture's aggrandization of the broker and the subsequent denigration of the actual manufacturer.
Got The Psychic Soviet on order now. It makes perfect sense: both DJ and broker as tastemaker, their acts of selection creating a kind of cachet, desirability, credibility, value, even when there's little of worth (be it a viable longterm business model or a decent track). The flaw in market economics has always been that it takes insufficient account of consciousness: if people were atoms unconscious of those around them, the market would work reliably, but because they're the opposite, hyper-conscious agents, the markets will always be fundamentally irrational. Brokers will lump in on stocks simply because other brokers are doing so, and offload them simply because other brokers are, producing exaggerated yo-yos in market worth that destroy businesses and economic stability. In this sense, the movement of the market is essentially a register of cool, with brokers gnawing fingernails about whether what they're buying is the hip thing or not. The digger-DJ, the kind who trawls crates and bins to find that unexpected, counter-intuitive, notionally uncool gem, knowing that in the right context, its very uncoolness will provide him with the maximum pay-off of crowd appreciation, is essentially playing the same game as those brokers who seek out apparently dud stocks that they reckon to be simply under-priced.

Svenonius effectively compares the music producer's lot to that of outsourced sweatshop labour in EPZs, which is a little off, even if not many producers make the same money as a Tiesto. Don't know about that use of the word 'necessary' either... It implies that the god-like status of the broker in the system of finance has required the DJ's rise as a kind of prop and propaganda... I don't think there's a causal chain, nor that the DJ-as-artist is essential to the hypnologic of broker-as-god. But there are a world of echoes...

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