El Transparente is a Baroque altarpiece in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of Toledo. El Transparente is a Baroque altarpiece in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of Toledo.

Back to Baroque (has illegal downloading killed music?)

Hey there,

Not so much a blog about guitars this time, but I guess more a ramble about ‘art’.

I was just driving back from sunny Waterloo and on the radio the host and guests were discussing newspaper ownership and how Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has just bought The Washington post. Not heard about it? Read the ABC article here.

The panel of journos and media experts spoke about how he might try and save the paper. They discussed how others have monetised their digital editions and if it is possible to do this whilst keeping up the standards of journalism that the paper is known for.  All this with the backdrop of a crumbling newspaper industry beset by declining sales and advertising revenues.

I think there are some parallels between music and the newspaper industries.  Falling revenues and heaps of free content (legal and illegal) make it hard for the 20th century models to succeed in the 21st century.

This really started me thinking about a few things.  The first was a conversation I had with one of my teenage guitar students about how he discovers and then collects new music.  He’s a great guy, honest and has good values.  He told me without any reticence that he’s never bought any music ever, but owns heaps.  The amazing thing is that he wasn’t even vaguely bothered by it, it was just so matter of fact.  I then asked him if that’s normal among his mates and he replied yes.

Is this approach to consuming digital content his generation’s paradigm?  It’s not a case of “why would I buy it because it’s free?”, rather the question of buying isn’t even considered.

Maybe that’s what encouraged Lily Allen into early retirement Lily Allen: ‘I won’t release another album.  Is this what she was thinking about?  Was it the realisation that unless you released music in the golden era of multi-million sellers and now can endlessly tour those 20, 30 or 40 year old tunes to baby boomers with deep pockets, that there’s no money in it anymore?

Lorenzo de Medici – crowdfunder extraordinaire

Maybe the 20th century music industry was just a money making blip while technology caught up.  Maybe music will effectively return to a 16th century model, where a variety of patrons – think crowdfunding – provided the funds for a variety of independent artists to compose.  And then maybe play at their parties and teach their kids how to play the piano.

Has illegal downloading killed music?  I don’t know.  Maybe Pink and Nickelback will be doing the $350 ticket shows in 15 years time and nothing will have changed?  Or maybe the government will become the new Medicis National Office for Live Music

Oh well.  Guitars turned up loud still sound great.  Thank goodness for that.

PS – I hear Lily has made a return to music?  Maybe she’s not in it for the money?