Composer and guitarist Glenn Branca has an opinion piece on the Times Opinionator blog that you might consider reading. I'm on my second go-round, and this time I wondered if the whole thing is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. I've concluded that no, he's seriously trying to make some kind of a case for the end of music. I wish I could conclude that he was making a joke, because he doesn't come close to persuading me that music is ending. He trots out the economic problems of orchestras (yes, some musical institutions might collapse but it's a mistake to equate that with "the death of music") and the straw man argument that there's so much music already, why bother making more?
Say what? That's a silly argument to make, the sort of thing where a composer should speak only for him or herself. If he has nothing more to say as a composer, fine and dandy, but it's his problem and doesn't address general issues of music at all.
It's also ridiculous to make a statement like "For more than half a century, we've seen incredible advances in sound technology but very little if any advance in the quality of music." What? How do you measure an "advance in the quality of music"? Does Branca know how to measure the advance in the quality of music from, say, Bach to Mozart? How about Brahms to Schoenberg? I would say there are always changes in style and technique, but quality? Are we supposed to believe there were changes in "quality" from Power to Dufay to Josquin?
Not to mention, brief article that mentions that some orchestras are in financial hot water but neglects the vibrant new concert music scene in, for example, New York City is in no way addressing the real state of new music.
FYI, my comments on Times blogs are under my own name about 95% of the time. The exceptions are extremely rare comments on high-tech business articles, where I am cautious for obvious reasons, and anything to do with my family, where I am cautious for different obvious reasons.