On the future of music


2007-1-6

David Byrne has a thoughtful post titled "Crappy Sound Forever!" In it he discusses a book about the effects technology (mostly in recording) has had on music and compositions. One of his musings towrds the end I woud like to comment on here:

"But is there a composing response to the MP3 and the sound of digitized compressed and private music listening? I don’t hear it yet. One would expect that private listening habits would result in a different kind of music being written — maybe a flood of ambient moods as a relaxing way to decompress, maybe dense and complex compositions that reward many replays and close listening, maybe intimate and sexy vocals that would be inappropriate to blast out in public. If any of this is happening I am unaware of it."

Well, there is a key word in that last sentence: unaware. And I believe that is not the fault of Mr, Byrne or any other in any way. This new, very private style of "Making Music" is by it's very nature under the radar of most listeners. It does have, want or need a distribution channel. And at large it is not professional or intended for a large audience. Tpday's internet distribution can spread such works far and wide, but it need not. Maybe we are back to the chamber musician/composer relationship of artist/audience. I know that my own 'works' sometimes have an audience of approximately 1.5 persons. And often I don't even consider them 'works' at all. The fact that I publish this stuff here on the web is more akin to the 'collected letters' of past times. Artefacts of communications that somehow got prederved and later published, but weren't actually meant to be. Knowing about this published artefact effect, I can now use the internet to simply 'put it out there'. There is a change of it being worthwhile to others, although I need not plan for it or even consider the chances. That might be the one big effect the net and mp3s can have on music.

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