3 Thoughts on Music

"Next to music, beer was best."
Carson McCullers

"The history of music is mortal,
but the idiocy of the guitar
is eternal."
Milan Kundera

"The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence between."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart




... so the other night I was surfing through 'pirate-infested' waters online looking for inspiration and I came across this wee graph...

...it's the results of a poll that the individual who created the site was running, asking about the ages of the people who were dropping by.

What I find fascinating is that 59% of the people who voted were over 40... which goes against the popular image that it's students in high schools and post-secondary situations who are the ones downloading mad bytes of music... it seems there are no small number of zoomers and other boomers at it too!

I wondered about who they might be...

Maybe they've already bought one, two, three copies of any given recording over the years - on vinyl, on cassette, on CD- that have been lost along the way, or become unplayable... and maybe they just want to hear a few of the songs again...

Maybe after 25 years of buying CDs at prices that were so incredibly over-priced, some of them might feel they've paid in advance...




The Problem with Music (1)

The Industry Formerly Known As Music faces two enormous problems today:

Problem 1: people like their product too much.*

Most corporations would love to have problem numero uno. They would not even consider it a problem. They might consider it 'great positioning' or even the
fulfillment of their mission statement! 

For Big Music, it's a serious problem.

The only industry I can think of that is successfully confronting this challenge on a trans-national basis is the narcotics industry. They have the decided advantage, of course, in that the sale and use of crack, smack and crystal meth is situated in a discourse that's about as far from 'virtual' as it gets.


As an industry, narcotics testifies to the power and possibilities inherent in the classic Industrial approach, with its rich possibilities for control, price fixing, adulterated product and affordable legislative change. Small wonder its been such a driving force for Empire for more than 200 years.

The Industry response has to consumer response to their product has been bold, creative and virtually unique- the Customer as Satan.

In a virtual world, it's just another fantasy in ones and zeros... a web
fact that many people in key music-buying demographics could tell them is so, so, so not going to happen, no matter how many elected officials are willing to trade-off the public good for a campaign contribution.

Elvis has left the building.
The horse has left the barn.
The genie has left the bottle.
That Greek chick left the lid up on the box.

In fact, many people in those crucial demographics have told them this, and continue to say it in many ways all over the net.

The Industry has not been listening. It is not listening now and there are no signs that it plans on listening in whatever time may be left to it.
In any industry- aside from narcotics, perhaps - that could be a big problem.

For an industry based on listening, and listeners, not listening is ironic in the short term, and probably fatal in the long...

* By 'product', of course I mean 'music' and by 'too much', I mean they don't set aside enough money to pay what it (allegedly) costs to hear music today.



Stop Singing That Song!


Every time you sing
"Happy Birthday",
you are stealing music.

The copyright on
that song is
private property,
and you are using it
without permission.

... so knock it off!




Great Moments in Control

... it should always be remembered that one of the greatest contributions to music made by the RIAA and other IT stooges was to kneecap the some of the most interesting artists working on the cutting edge of hip-hop.

They did this by making it virtually impossible for these musicians and producers to integrate even tiny samples of tracks by other musicians into a piece. The amount of time and money required to clear these digi-bits through all of the 'affected' parties and their lawyers dumbed down the genre in a big hurry...