Hard to imagine, I know, but every now and then I read something that sums up the State Of The Arts far more succinctly than I have ever done with my rambling missives. Today I wish to share two such somethings with you, my vast and loyal readership.
There are two sides to this “music business” equation (a proxy for all business, really) that are effected by evolving technologies. There’s the creator/producer side, and then there’s the user/audience side.
Again, the easiest nomenclature for the user/audience side would be “consumer;” Then we could just call the two sides of the transaction producers and consumers. But the distinction is important: particularly where “digital” music is concerned, there is no “consumption.” Consumption applies, to, say, grapes: when you eat a grape, that grape is gone. It has been consumed. But when you listen to a digital recording, or even purchase a track from a server somewhere, nothing is “consumed.” The original is still there.
I keep stressing this bit of pedantics because I firmly believe that thought processes are formed by language. Vocabulary determines perspective and maybe even attitude. That’s why I keep reminding readers that “Internet radio” is an oxymoron, and you can’t paste a “label” on a stream of electrons and digits. But I digress…
From the user side of the equation, it was encouraging to read this assessment of the burgeoning new market for “cloud” services from Jon Pareles, a senior music critic at the New York Times:
I can’t wait. Ever since music began migrating online in the 1990s I have longed to make my record collection evaporate — simply to have available the one song I need at any moment, without having to store the rest.
That’s the promise of “The Celestial Jukebox” that I have also been anticipating since the mid 90s – “whatever you want to hear, whenever you want to hear it, wherever you are.” As Pareles points out, we still wait for “the bastards to let us.” Read More