A Look at Mo Tzu’s View About The Influence and Impact of Music as Entertainment

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1507 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 1507|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

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If one were to ask what someone’s favorite music is, what would the probable answer be? It is impossible to tell. The levels of variation within music give a vast array of options. One could love acapella, afro-jazz, or even heavy death metal. Music has developed to become a cornerstone of entertainment throughout the world due to all of its variations. This has enabled music to expand in many different aspects which have sparked frequent discussions on the Industry as a whole, particularly how it relates to society. An intriguing and bold opinion of music from an earlier day, approximately 400 BC, comes from the Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu. His writing emphasizes his belief that music should be utterly abolished and that it serves no purpose to society whatsoever. Mo Tzu’s view, that music is not beneficial to man, can be used as a lens to perceive the music industry in the society of today, which ultimately calls for the need to remove music from the world.

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A gleaming issue of the music industry is the decrease of artists’ pay in recent years. In Mo Tzu’s piece, “Against Music,” he claims, “they must lay heavy taxes upon the common people before they can enjoy the sound of great bells, rolling drums, zithers, and pipes” (Mo Tzu 237). He believes that the men of upper power have to collect money for others to have music. Therefore, music should be eliminated because the common people have to support the music through taxation. Artists of today are figuratively acting as the common people of Tzu’s time. They work hard for their music but see little to no reward for it. On the surface, the decline of artists’ pay appears to help the ultimate removal of music, but the bigger picture shows otherwise. The industry is being molded into the hands of those with power, such as labels and major companies. This is reflective of Mo Tzu’s times, where power lied in the hands of the wealthy. Music should definitely be removed if it continues to divide our society into lower and upper classes through the hard work of musicians. They are fueling and filling the pockets of label companies while receiving little to no benefits, as demonstrated by the words of Paul Weller, a prominent member of The Jam, “I cannot think of any other job or art form where people do not get paid for what they do” (Timburg 1). On the other hand, it can be argued that some bands are making millions of dollars which destroys the entire argument. It is true that some artists make lots of money, but only a miniscule population does. According to Tunecore, “99.9% of all artists cannot make a living wage off of their music” (Resnikoff 33). Therefore less than one-tenth of a percent of musicians make enough money to sustain themselves, so relatively nobody makes a significant amount of money. This shows that there is barely a middle class or upper class for musicians and that the lower class musicians are carrying the bulk of the work, but receiving little to no rewards. As recording revenues continue to fall, and the music industry continues to shift society away from a democracy, it should be examined closely and ultimately eradicated.

Viewing music from Mo Tzu’s perspective reveals serious moral issues in the industry of today that are often overlooked. Mo Tzu’s question, when referring to music, “does this do anything to rescue the world from chaos and restore it to order?” reveals a large problem (Mo Tzu 238). Not only does music do nothing to save the world, but it does the opposite today by pushing the world towards chaos. This combination comes to light especially in the past couple of decades where music has turned rapidly towards extreme immorality and vulgarity. A recent song, titled “My Nigga,” peaked at number nineteen on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs while simultaneously selling over one million copies to achieve a platinum record. Along with the title, within the song there are numerous expletives that should not be repeated. This would not be tolerated in earlier times and illustrates the music industry’s push of morals towards extinction. Another wild example of immorality occurred at the VMA’s in 2013. Miley Cyrus outwardly flaunted risqué behavior in her performance so much so that it gained national attention. Actions like these are prime examples of why music should be abolished just as Mo Tzu warned. It essentially drives our society further towards blurred lines which are difficult to resolve. An additional moral issue presented by music is corruption. Many companies in the industry care more about their welfare than the individuals and go to great lengths to ensure their own success. An example is Spotify, one of the fastest growing and biggest names in music. There are many rumors and reports that Spotify is shorting the artists that stream music on their platform in order to maximize their initial deal made with Sony. Taylor Swift and Rihanna, two of the most popular female musicians today, both removed their music from Spotify, further sparking the idea that Spotify is corrupt. The math indicates that the suspicions are true, and in further years the public will have a definitive answer on whether or not Spotify has shorted millions of dollars (Ulloa 8). Even if Spotify is proven innocent later on, there are still enough obvious issues floating around to uphold the cloud of uncertainty engulfing the industry. Examples of these include piracy, intentionally leaked music, inflation, manipulation of charts, etc. Looking at the question Mo Tzu poses reveals that music fails to pull the world out of disorder in any way and ultimately adds to the problem. Music needs to be stopped before the world cascades into disaster and further corruption where morals fail to exist.

The companies and services of today, like Spotify, increase the availability of music immensely. Music can be accessed anywhere, on nearly every device, and all for an affordable price. One can buy CD’s, music from iTunes, purchase a streaming service, or download illegally. The latter options are inexpensive and allow more people to enjoy music at a higher frequency. This sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity, yet this is a problem. Mo Tzu argues this issue with a specific scenario, “Now if those who occupy the position of rulers and ministers are fond of music and spend their time listening to it, then they will be unable to exhaust the strength of their limbs” (Mo Tzu 239). He goes on to show all of the other duties that would be neglected because they enjoy music. Thus, with the increased opportunities around the world to delight in music, there will be an abundant negligence of duties. This is a serious issue. It will affect everyone, particularly the younger generation who have not seen anything different. Today, students in middle school and high school, and sometimes even college, tune out everything by plugging in their earphones and listening to their favorite artist. This includes the teacher and the lesson, which is the only way they will be able to learn. The music industry has provided students around the globe with a tool of destruction and others have jumped at this opportunity as well. Most backpacks manufactured have holes designated for earphones, and an alarming fact is that there are even jackets designed specifically to disguise the use of headphones through seams that hide the wiring. This illustrates the power of the industry, where separate manufacturers make a profit by selling ordinary products that are geared strictly towards enhancing the accessibility of music. Availability does not hold back its spread in the least, so the music industry needs to be stopped before a complete disregard for duties encompasses society.

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Looking at music through the lens of Mo Tzu’s idea of music forces one to wonder about whether or not it is advantageous to mankind and the effects on society. The industry is taking away from the common people, has serious moral issues, and causes negligence to duties. The world is on a downhill slope to destruction, and music is the lube that enhances the speed of its descent. It is difficult to realize the seriousness of the situation in a society where music is everywhere, but something needs to be done. Mo Tzu believes music should be destroyed altogether, but with its amplitude today that would be difficult to do. Regulations need to be put in place in order to minimize the downsides of music and ultimately accomplish Mo Tzu’s goal. Corruption, vulgarity, immorality, and dishonesty are just a few of the terms one can use to describe the music industry of today. These are often overlooked; and the industry ensures that it comes at every angle and proves to be a sticky web, difficult to escape. Slowly alleviating this problem and eventually extinguishing it altogether is ideally the best way to mend the problems music brings to this world.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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A Look at Mo Tzu’s View about the Influence and Impact of Music as Entertainment. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
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