I’m well aware that I’m missing out on one of the most significant cultural phenomena in my lifetime: Harry Potter. I have not read any of the books, and I have not seen any of the movies. Before you opine about all the fantastic fun I’m missing, there are plenty of other things I’ve missed out on thus far in my life: e.g., the novels of Trollope, the operas of Mercadante, the Hermitage, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Sopranos.
So while I might never get around to J.K. Rowling’s mega-selling prose or the blockbuster motion pictures that it has spawned (I’ve learned a long time ago never to say never definitively), I’m delighted and admittedly a tad envious of its mesmerizing appeal to people, and not just the overzealous fans.
It’s hard to walk around in an American city and not see a poster for the latest film, although that’s mostly a result of an endless supply of Hollywood advertising revenue. However, media moguls don’t throw money away that freely: if the movies weren’t raking it in at the box office, the ads wouldn’t be quite as ubiquitous. But that’s not all, in an era where reading is allegedly on the decline, everywhere I go folks are also reading the new final installment of the book which only hit the stores on Friday. This has to be the best example of viral advertising I’ve seen yet.
What could we do to effect a similar response for something in the new music scene, with more modest financial resources at our disposal? Perhaps someone could write a work in seven installments spread over several years using the same basic thematic material, doing so in such a way that it could easily be adapted for a variety of ensembles. Make it appear to be for children (maybe include children’s voices), but do it in such a way that adults will not feel condescended to if they perform it or listen to it. Vow never to compose anything else again. Maybe hold back a recording or a score until midnight on a specific summer date. Good luck.