War! War! The tympanum.


The Internet sells itself as an improved content-delivery service, giving you whatever you want, whenever you want—by no small coincidence is its premiere streaming-music site called Pandora—but there is an increasingly clear downside to opening the on-demand box. We no longer feel compelled to “own” music, because it has no scarcity value. Music has become ether, navigable by desire, or impulse, and so the need to patronize musicians, whom we were previously cowed into compensating by a protectorate of record labels, becomes not only optional, but indistinct.

We assume musicians are taken care of, because their music is getting to us, and in that way, they have succeeded—they have communicated, and they may even be famous as Joanna Newsom—but they will never profit, because neither they nor their ostensible parent labels control the medium by which we increasingly receive and interpret their work. To the extent their fame is driven and/or sustained online, artists are subservient to the Internet, and must engage with that audience on its terms, begging for donations—tithing—or prostituting themselves via cost-denominated signed copies, telephone calls, personal concerts and personalized songs.

{ Shallow Rewards | Continue reading }

art { Vincent van Gogh, Peasant Burning Weeds, 1883 }