Saturday Summary 018



A few scattered shots in the long range artillery duel over free music this week, but nothing dramatic. Lots of interesting articles though, on various topics. This is a really interesting and in depth article on the role of militarist imagery in industrial music, but its observations are clearly applicable to other musics that utilise similar visuals. There’s often a deliberate conflict between the associations of imagery and the use to which it is put, but often it is a less aware appropriation, as made clear by the musician in this article who seems to think that saying he uses military uniforms because he finds them sexy is the end of the debate… The other day there was a very interesting exchange on Twitter about the whole free music debate, and Steve Lawson kindly aggregated many of the tweets here. There’s an ongoing back and forth between those who find distributing free music works for them, and those who don’t: myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that music isn’t a ‘thing’, and you can’t treat it as such. James Beaudreau has an interesting contribution to that debate, from an experiment into the effect of wine pricing on consumer perceptions. There’s a lot said about the death of the old industry, and the rise of DIY, but precious little about the role of commercial enterprise in the new picture (other than tech companies and distribution platforms). This is a constructive and intelligent attempt to address that. Why album sales are resisting gravity for a change, I’m not sure, but I would imagine they still have some residual value for a lot of people. The pleasure of collecting something can sometimes be enough to justify paying for it. I have to say, I’ve wondered why on Earth anyone would want to buy Myspace: this is the only attempt I’ve come across to address that question. This is a great roundup of mobile platform music technologies (which will probably result in my spending a few pounds on potentially useful, and pleasingly engineered pieces of software that I’ll play with for a bit and then forget about). This is an interesting piece on a subject I’ve been thinking about. To be honest, big recording artists (Gaga most obviously, but actually all of them) represent a commercial version of performance art far more than they represent a commercial version of music: to me, the music seems almost incidental to what they do.

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