Is Theodor Adorno right about popular music? How are his views challenged by Adam Krims’s ‘Marxist analysis without Adorno.’ Make reffernce to examples from popular music to illustrate your argument.
Theodor Adorno was a German born sociologist, philosopher and musicologist who is well known for his critical theories of society. Born in 1903 Adorno lived until August 6, 1969. In 1941 Adorno wrote The Musical Material, one of Adorno’s early essays on popular music. Written after Adorno had fled Nazi Germany, The Musical Material will provide the base of my research into Adorno’s Marxist critique of popular music. In this essay I plan to critical analysis Adorno’s theories on popular music, including his theory of standisation, cultural imperialism and the relationship between consumer and producer.
I will be considering Adorno’s work to modern day examples of popular music, to see if Adorno’s work is still applicable in today’s neoliberal capitalist western society. Alongside Adorno’s work I will be looking into Adam Krims’s opinion of Adorno and his own more modern Marxist analysis of popular music. Largely working from Krims ‘Marxist analysis without Adorno’ I will be testing Krims claim that ‘if capitalism changes in history, then a Marxist music analysis needs to change with it’ (Krims:p133:2003)
Adorno and Capitalism of the 1940’s
In 1940s America the so called radio generation was centred round an economy of mechanised labour known as Fordism. Fordism is "the eponymous manufacturing system designed to spew out standardized, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them" (De Grazia:2005). This economc term comes from methods used to improve the productivity in the automotive industry in America however these general methods are also applied to different manufacturing processes. The process was a major success in