In a recent Music Career Development and Entrepreneurship class, we were speaking about how the arts are commonly seen as a want rather than a need, and that the arts are competing not only with each other for the same discretionary funds, but also with sporting events, recreational events, and hobbies. I told the following story about a short-lived music retailer to emphasize the point: Back in the 1990’s, the founder of a highly successful office supply superstore decided to launch a musical instrument company using the same model that brought him success in office supplies. There were a variety of reasons why the model didn’t work in the music products industry, but I half-jokingly said, “Most of the population will at some point today need a pen or a piece of paper, but they likely won’t need a trombone.”
Later that day I happened to read an article about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs--and it hit me that the arts fit very clearly at the top of the hierarchy. A quick online search yielded many articles confirming that sentiment. Above is a summary (with my interpretations) for those who don’t remember or haven’t heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Learn more about the authors.