Music, my love…
The other day, I was thinking to myself: Does anybody actually care about truth, culture or dignity?
And for the thousandth time, I decided, “fuck it… I am not going to waste my breath.”
And then I read “news from the music industry”, and the wall of empty chatter made me sad. So, I figured, commentators are still commenting. It’s all about the meta, not about happiness. And if they are the only ones talking, while musicians (who can make happiness) are too intimidated by the wall of lalalalalalalalalalalalala…
Then that’s all we have.
So, again, I remembered the reason not to shut up, even though at the moment I really want to be eating mangoes by the seaside…
And I wrote this to send love to people like me.
If you have ever read anything about “the future of the music industry”, you know all about the digital challenge, and the sea change, and the shift of focus from the experience of music (from ears to soul) to the experience of the platform (from user experience to being hooked).
Digital information wants to be free, right? And people want to be lazy motherfucking consumers, right? And not one fuck wants to be given about music as mystery, or about dignity of an artist.
Because, why, right? Even the famous ones are often jesters, jumping up and down for approval of
the confident wallets who curate approval of the public.
And if you speak up and, God forbid, don’t sound like an enthusiastic corporate chatterbox…
They make you feel like a comic book aborigine who is standing there with tears in his eyes, and asking, “Why are you fucking up my shit?” Like an awkward revolutionary with a clown nose. Like that person who said something on Facebook and got no likes.
That one crazy, irrelevant motherfucker who is bitter because he wasn’t invited to the progress party.
They who? They the self-appointed trend-setters with big mouths. Glossy, proper, and desperately square. Enthusiastic, huggable, and sometimes commercially brilliant… but incapable of understanding what music actually is.
They want people like you and I to feel inadequate. Inadequate you is good for them. The dignified version of you is invincible, but the inadequate one is food. They don’t mind you complaining, as long as you complain from the position of a petitioner. They want you to know your place as an artist.
Here is the thing though. Whether you are an artist or a president of a medical equipment company, dignity is a fundamental necessity. At some point, you were five years old, and lay on your back under the sky, and you knew the freedom. And you are still that person. Dignity is like air for the soul. Without dignity, people don’t feel good, they get sick, and shrink. Without dignity, people are faceless.
Enter the world through the eyes of a person with a gift of making culture. People kiss your ass for the bling if you have the bling, but other than that…. You are looked down upon simply based on the nature of the gift you were born with… and that’s fucked up.
I think it’s time that we, people who have it in us to create beauty out of pain and observation, or to make people dance their woes away and be happy, stick for one another with confidence. We are not competing with each other. We each carry a spark. Our sparks are sacred. Our power is real. Jumping up and down for Facebook likes is not going to make us feel good, but acting with dignity, wherever we are, and demanding respect for music that makes us whole, is where it’s at.
And please don’t make it about #technology. Personally, I like technology, I like respectful, honest exploration of the world, and I like new toys. However, I don’t like stupid and I am appalled by the square on the throne. I don’t like it when people who have no fucking clue about what music does, piss on my sacred. I don’t like it when my fellow musicians don’t feel comfortable expressing their true feelings out of fear of a backlash.
When did musicians become conformists? Don’t forget, they are the square ones.
I feel strongly that it is our adult professional responsibility to be real, to be dignified, to care for society and for the people. To care for them, not to fear their bad habits.
Disrespecting music is a bad habit. It’s a habit that is a commercial godsend for “new” (not really) business models, but it’s just a bad habit.
Music has value.
Think about it. People complain about paying $9.99 a month for all recorded music in the world while they are happy to pay the same amount for the monthly Photoshop subscription. Check this: nobody even talks about a low monthly fee to legally access all software programs in the world. Because, why? Because software is cooler than music?
If we don’t remind them (every day) that music is not just “awesome”, but also sacred, who will?
Dudes from Google?
I wouldn’t hold my breath. Dudes from Google have a different set of gifts. They play a role, they do some good things, but their ideas don’t need to dominate humanity and culture, because their perspective is not about that. Putting Silicon Valley types in charge of culture is like hiring a cat person to watch over your dog.
I read a statement recently that said that in the future, we might only two big record labels: Google and Apple. And then, once they start controlling most “content”, they might start charging a dignified price for recorded music again. I never thought about it this way, but that’s probably not an impossible scenario. After all, the only reason that music wants to be as free as possible at the moment, is that it is used to attract user data and investors. The rest is a cynical coverup.
Adapt to irrelevance? Kneel?
If we all adapt to the fact that artistic human dignity is an unpopular phrase that is not likely to get many Facebook likes, and that progress that stomps on the live spark is just fine, then we can all start getting depressed now. History has seen many examples of successful murder.
But kneeling seems silly.
As artists, we have a mission, and it is a sacred mission. We are not submissive children in the adult world of new business models. It is our responsibility to make sure that culture stays real, that people who are seeking truth have a place to go. Bureaucrats are not going to do it. Technocrats are not going to do it. It’s on us, or else…