Watch this video. Save it and spread it around. This is the U.S. military attacking ravers in Utah. Police Raid Outdoor Music Event. These are not police. Seems like a warm-up for Bush's visit and the ensuing anti-war protests? First hand account on Daily Kos.
'I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.'
From BoingBoing.net not exactly a new music-related story, more of an indicator of things to come as industry embraces viral/subversive marketing techniques; another indicator of an industry OUT OF CONTROL!. Sony has been forced to pay $5 to any moviegoer who can claim they were tricked into seeing a movie based on a review by their David Manning, fake film critic. Not only do we have government producing fake criticism (US Agriculture Department, US Education Department), now industry is doing it to itself.
Since I've been so forthright in my promotion of the music like water service, I'd like to backtrack a second and point out my views of the problematic nature this system will create. What are the problems inherent in creating a primarily online audience base? In my experience, there are several important ones, including:
1. Anonymity of Audience
I have no way of knowing that some taste maker, somebody who could potentially shift some $$$ or audiences or performances my way has downloaded and totally dug my music. There is an implicit assumption that the downloading of music is always anonymous and not something such as a purchase that might benefit from some type of validation. Admittedly, this is a leftover part of the online::offline critical machine, but it still effects how the online audience responds and how even millions of downloads can produce no effect whatsoever in the offline audience.
2. Assumptions about offline credibility
There are still assumptions that if you deploy your content primarily offline that it is because you have to. That you've been forced to, from a lack of interest in the real world, typically because you suck. Amazingly, my friends who shell out $$$ to record and press their CD's in what used to be called vanity projects can more easily get online reviews with 1/100th of the number of listeners.
3. Bandwidth Costs
Even one recommendation can lead to a catastrophic failure in your ability to maintain a decent pipe of content.
4. Limited Offline Recognition
No matter how many listens I've received, the offline critics are primarily focussed on live performances and real CD's. No matter the size of the audience (often miniscule) or the number of CD's the musician has sold.
Anyways, I've been pitching more musicians get their music online and give it away... these are a few of the pitfalls that await this type of distro methodology. I'll be adding a few more as they wack me across the head.
Gerd Leonhard, self-proclaimed Musical Futurist writes an article getting a lot of attention at NewMusicBox. In it he examines the implications of a world where music is so commoditized, through online subscription services, such as Yahoo and the new Napster, that music has become a utility, like water.
From the article, Once music is unleashed and the dinosaurial fight for the simple privilege of having access to it is over for good, distribution ceases to be a barrier to entry: all music, all artists, and all writers will be in those pipeline... ...the real challenge and the real opportunity going forward: getting exposure and being discovered—the rest is already built into the pipeline.
What Gerd misses out on, is the fact that this is a great thing, because, it levels the playing field. In this type of world, the cream rises to the top, not the merely over-promoted and well-connected. Music that matters will be noticed because it is listened to.
Other writers including Pliable at On an Overgrown Path fears for the artists. His blog haiku:
Water from faucets
sounds like a listener's dream -
will hurt true artists
Hurt true artists? Huh? The majority of true artists now are fighting to get through the ear canal. They're not the ones on the radio, getting recorded. They're the artists that are not getting promoted in record stores, getting performed in concert halls. They're the ones that didn't spend the money to hire an agent like so many composers, didn't spend the money to hire an orchestra and record their own music while pretending its a real record company recording and promoting their music.
The Music Like Water flow will be huge, it will be meritocratic and it will create giant new opportunities for curators, critics, musician-networks. The main problem in getting paid, which is what everybody always focusses on, in this world is the over-abundance of musicians, not the collapse of the inherent assumptions about music distribution. This glut of artistry is one of the real problems and its a good problem. We need competition, to make better music. We need to hear everybody so that for once, the Nancarrow's don't have to almost die in obscurity.
The big question, is will we be up to building the future curatorial forums? I see the music blog as a prime contendor and the reblogging movement, re-mixing aggregated micro-content into forms that will promote more better variety and more better personalization.