Sunday, October 13, 2013

$100,000 a Minute?

I don't want to completely neglect the "wider" musical world while doing my series on Haydn symphonies. So here is a pop music update for you:
Model Kate Moss and Michelle Obama are in a bidding war over singer Adele. Both women want her to perform at their birthday bashes. Adele can’t perform at both parties because the birthday parties are only a day apart. Kate’s 40th birthday party is January 16th and Michelle’s 50th birthday party is January 17th. Michelle Obama thinks she is sweetening the pot by promising Adele that she will sing along side Beyonce. The last time Adele was asked to perform at a private party she asked for a $100,000 a minute.
Here is the link. Now, by way of comparison, Joseph Haydn earned 15,000 florins or Austro-Hungarian gulden from his very successful trips to London where quite a number of symphonies were premiered. It is very difficult to convert into modern currency, but a few minutes digging around turned up what a florin was equivalent to in silver and, at today's silver price (around $22 an ounce) that converts to about $115,500 US. Or slightly more than one minute of Adele's time.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world I tell you!

But what really gives me pause is the notion that anyone would want to glorify themselves to the extent of hiring a big pop star (or in the case of Michelle Obama, at least two big pop stars) for their birthday party. Just another thing about 21st century popular culture that I will never get.


Shantanu said...

It's all about the image! Then and now. Just that the image now is without much content.

By the way, I am in a great mood because I just discovered Mozart's bassoon concerto!

Bryan Townsend said...

You know, I don't think I have even heard Mozart's bassoon concerto! Another one for my listening list.

Virgil T. Morant said...

A bidding war for a birthday performance by Adele with the musical gift of Beyonce thrown in, by the First Lady of the United States ... I find this disheartening both as a patron of music and as an American.

Bryan Townsend said...

Maybe it is just my Canadian side coming out, but the sheer narcissistic excess of it leaves me cold.

Virgil T. Morant said...

Oh, I'm pretty much right there with you, U.S. citizen that I am and all. Didn't Beyoncé also once give a private performance for Muammar Gaddafi or his son? And, as Shantanu commented above, image over substance. Sounds like a spectacle to me. Of course one isn't narcissistic for wanting a bit of a treat on one's birthday, but this makes our leadership look downright royal ... or dictatorial.

And I see on your latest post that "The Evolution of Western Dance Music" is about to drive you to drink. You can't get away from this stuff.

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, this puffing up of oneself into something grandiose is associated more with third world dictators and oil sheiks. It recalls Marie Antoinette, I suppose.