My argument that the Rolling Stones, who are currently visiting Australia, are primarily a business corporation has been reinforced by this article in the Financial Review.Called 'Stones have all the right moves' it says that this corporation is part a culture industry that has all the right moves for making lots of money. Rolling Stones Inc. can be seen as as cash cow, which is:
"... a successful enterprise in a mature phrase, no longer developing new product, or investing in new businesses, just consistently bringing in the money....what sets them apart is that they have sustained that fundamental intellectual capital---and they have made money from it...Each song, each unity of intellectual effort, is leveraged through recording, licensing, touring merchandising; from the organizations point of view."
My sentiments exactly. That is why is difficult to get enthused by their presence in Australia. Once they sold themselves as quality culture in a junk music market-- elitist, arrogant rock culture that pushed the boundaries of the form that resisted and contradicted a repressive social existence. They stood for freedom in a world of unfreedom. They were serious musicians in a world of frivolity and light-heartedness.
That avant-garde facade has been shattered. Now the talk is about how their business method is text book. Their conglomerate is driven by synergies between different business units, touring, recording, royalties and merchandising. Their:
"success is due to them having pulled their way out of a crowded market---which is more down to product and brand. They operate in a a popular market with extremely low barriers to entry, long term intellectual capital development costs, and, usually short-term periods of high return."
What I see from media accounts of their current tour is that their yea-saying performance is prescribed to tired business people, politicians and journalists looking for a bit of nostalgia and needing a shot in the arm. No one, not even old radicals, are asking the band to be serious creative musicians who produce songs that act as a critique of the brute existence everyday life that has been imposed on us by the neo-liberals. They are accepted as a part of kitsch that cheerfully fits into the way of the world.