Saturday Summary 016

I’m not detecting any special, industry shaking trends this week (which doesn’t mean they’re not there, I’m usually the last to know!) However, I have found a fair few interesting links I’d like to share with you. It’s probably just being sentimental to think this matters, but it seems as though Motown is losing its identity as a separate entity within Universal. Motown is one of those labels, like Blue Note, that will forever be identified with a time, place and style. This is a very exciting series of events, bringing together some deep thinkers on the new music biz, and giving them a platform that exploits all the new media. It’s all over now, but I’m sure there will be more, and the sessions will all be archived, and presumably the archive will be found in the same place as the live events were, here: Who’s Eavis kidding? I don’t know where the money from Glastonbury goes, but it doesn’t really matter: any event so huge and so commercial can never be anything but mainstream. What would be really political would be to put on the next Glasto without a single shit band on the bill. Internet censorship rears its controversial head again. I’ve seen far more explicit content linked to, or even hosted on Facebook: I suspect it’s the use of religious iconography in such an overtly sexual image that made the censor flex his pen. The image is definitely no more explicit or sexual than the kind of thing seen in commercial pop videos. I just liked this: J. Mascis is a very likeable, self-effacing geezer, as well as an influential musician. The whole Henry Rollins thing sounds superb. When I hear about big companies, of whatever sort, strategizing to combat music piracy, I think they’ve totally failed to see the writing on the wall. On the other hand, if enough big tech players get together, they could stitch things up such that ordinary consumers are all saddled with equipment that won’t do piracy. The scary thing about that is not that it stops music piracy (although I believe strongly in the free distribution of recorded music), but that any such technological control can be used to restrict the exchange of other kinds of information. In other words, an effective attack on music piracy is an attack on freedom of speech. And speaking of music piracy… if Prince is seriously going to stop releasing records because his vast income might be impacted by enthusiasts sharing his music, then fuck him. He can keep his washed up funk rock retreads: no one ever made good music for the money, and he has obviously lost it (he used to be loopy in a good way, but now he’s just a wanker). Slang is a fascinating subject, and the lexical innovations of subcultural groups are of obvious relevance to musical style as well as speech. It’s also something I think about with regard to the correct language to use when discussing different musics (I often say ‘blow’ for ‘improvise’ when discussing jazz, and so on). There are actually some half decent acts on this list of the highest earning musicians, but that’s beside the point. The point for me is that it’s ridiculous that anyone should make that much moolah from music: the reason it happens is that music consumers are, by and large, sheep. Imagine if everyone was a really keen music hound, searching for their favoured sounds in odd corners of the web. No one would get more than a couple of hundred thousand fans at the most. The money on that list would be providing a living for thousands of artists, instead of 25. I could just go off on a massive rant now, but it’s late, and I’m too angry to be coherent…

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