The question Adorno puts forth is a valuable one, "how can good music be conveyed to the largest possible audience?" However, what he is failing to recognize is the subjectivity of art. Another important piece of the puzzle Adorno lost is the fact that popular music is cultural for the very reason that it represents our given cultural during a specific point in our history. Beethoven's concertos are works of art indeed, but do they represent the culture in the time Adorno writes? Or now? My answer is no.
"Today music is considered ethereal and sublime, although it actually functions as a commodity. Today the terms ethereal and sublime have become trademarks. Music has [...] become a fetish."
I do agree with Adorno in his assertion that popular music functions as a commodity. Looking at the top pop artists/songs of 2012 I am having difficulty picking a song I would want to listen to, let alone dissect. The most popular songs mostly represent an industry dominated by songs that sound alike in their lack of originality and digitized sound. I noticed several past American idol contestants dominating the charts, which points to our cultural obsession with reality television. To dispel my own statement of art being highly subjective, pop music today is certainly reflective of the downward spiral of the music industry as we know it. Kelly Clarkson will not be remembered as an important musical artist, but rather as an icon of reality television dominance over all media, the music industry included.
The artist Maluca, whom I presented in class, along with my friend Bijoux Altamirano, the director of her music video "Lola" have both been called "too risky" by music industry executives. This points to how hard it is to break into an industry that has a specific formula for success. But whether Adorno would classify them as artists or their work as valuable is questionable. His focus on Beethoven as "good music" along with other classical musicians of centuries past is a rather narrow and dated view of music, even for the time he was writing. A more expansive view of culturally valuable music, including artists of his time, would strengthen his argument considerably.
Here is Bijoux's video of Maluca's "Lola" since I did not get to show it in its entirety in class:
What do you think- would Adorno approve of these women challenging how women are depicted in music videos along with channeling media forms-old and new? I am a bit dubious based on his narrow view of "good music."