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In the 26th century, 500 years after a nuclear apocalypse, most modern technological marvels, like radio, television and telephone have been wiped out. Which means, if you want to find out what’s going on out in the opposite side of the country, you have to go there yourself. So, back to the point. In the small town of Des, Iowa, a child was born, named Reffrey Beatus Apparatus.

He was an orphan, and was taken in by the humanitarian organization, O.R.E. There he took up the musical arts, and his skills were unmatched by any other. He left Des, and wanted to make a name for himself in the wide wastes. So, he wants to become a star, but, given the lack of instant communication, what would be the best path for our young musician to make?

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    $\begingroup$ If a popstar sings in a desert and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 7 '18 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch: The pop star is their hearing it $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Jun 7 '18 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ What infrastructure is there? Do people listen to music in great auditoriums? Do they listen to chamber music? Are artists who play for high ranking people given name recognition? How did artists gain such recognition before the 20th century? Can Reffery do what they did? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Jun 7 '18 at 2:40
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, Mozart, Bach & C. did very well just counting on horse based data transmission protocol $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 7 '18 at 2:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think the biographies and articles on Mozart, Bach and Beethoven cover this topic pretty well. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jun 7 '18 at 2:57
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In the mameluke empire there are scholarly records of philosophers and educators lamenting that stringed instrument players and singers are more critically acclaimed than great physicians and mathemeticians. These early pop-stars seemed to derive thier fame much the same way our "famous for being famous" types do today. Mass exposure and marketing and associating with the rich and powerful. They just used different methods to do so. They travled a lot and hired criers to announce thier arrivals, which were usually accompanied by extravagant displays of wealth and spectacle. Think alladdins initial appearance to jasmine while masquerading as a prince. Everywhere you go you hire troupes of dancers, animal handlers to parade rare and exotic beasts, slaves or servants to sing praises toss out handfuls of coins or loaves of bread and generally add to the jovial atmosphere, fire-breathers, jugglers, bare chested women etc etc. If nobody knew who you were before they do now, and if you have the musical or choreographic talent you then make a big deal out of presenting yourself and your services to the local strong-man. After such a blatant display of wealth and pomp he basically has no choice but to respond in kind, a big festival is held, lots of wine is drank, lots of babies get made, lots of coin flies around. His people get distracted from thier crushing poverty for a while, thier leader reaffirms his power and benevolence, and you get a bit more famous. He presents you with lavish gifts and you depart. Rinse and repeat.

Thats not to say it's foolproof. History is rife with tales of famous entertainers whose careers met nasty ends because they caught the local despot at a bad time or somehow offended him, or perhaps served one of his adversaries and ended up on his bad side. Or maybe he became jelous and wanted you all to himself. Or maybe just couldnt afford to pay you so decided to accuse you of something and have you punished. Or maybe hes just a bit inbred and a lot mad and just likes seeing guitar players tossed off of buildings.

Its a lot more dangerous than modern day celebrity-hood, but before electronic recordings and telecommunications there were indeed singers and dancers famed across entire empires. They just had to travel a lot and have enough money and connections to promote themselves a lot. Basically you use your talent to get noticed by a wealthy patron, hopefully getting onto his permanant court of sycophants. He will use you to show off to other visiting dignitaries. After a few years he dies, grows bored, or just lets you go. You now use those connections to travel and patronize the courts of the high and mighty. Eventually you become wealthy and wideley recognized enough that you can become your own promoter and travel as you wish.

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Consider expressing Reffrey's musical gifts through composition rather than performance. Paper sheets full of musical notation are a lot easier to spread around a post-mass-communication world than the actual performer.

Check out the DragonSinger Trilogy portion of Anne McCaffrey's DragonRiders series for a spectacular handling of music's role in a low-tech world. From Teaching to Reporting to Entertaining and much, much more, the Harper's of Pern are a powerful part of that world. And most of the famous members of that guild, were composers.

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Phonograph.

as demand for certain records grew, popular artists still needed to re-record and re-re-record their songs. Reportedly, the medium's first major African-American star George Washington Johnson was obliged to perform his "The Laughing Song" (or the separate "Laughing Coon") literally thousands of times in a studio during his recording career. Sometimes he would sing "The Laughing Song" more than fifty times in a day, at twenty cents per rendition. (The average price of a single cylinder in the mid-1890s was about fifty cents.)

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