The fundamental American right is Free Speech. SF Music Tech (and Silicon Valley in general) do not really respect this right. Especially when it begins to interfere with their bottom line.
So what do you say we just end the charade? SF Music Tech Summit is biased against creators/musicians and their rights. It’s a pro-tech industry event. It’s held in the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco. Because it is a giant Kabuki.
Three times a year you find Tech Industry “entrepreneurs” who’ve never turned a profit “debate” un-elected artists rights advocates who as it turns out work for opaque 501C foundations and organizations that are funded by technology companies like Google.
Despite the “three strikes” law gaining a lot of press — and being emulated in some form by the US, UK, and others — music piracy has actually risen in France. Some have called the law ineffective, noting that very few internet suspensions have actually gone through, with many third strikes being reduced in court to fines or suspended sentences. “If you cannot chop off a few heads as an example, then the chopping machine inspires less fear,” said a spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group that’s firmly against the anti-piracy law.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the UK was unusually highbrow in its tastes during late 2010. At least that is what you might have discovered if you were to have conducted some research on musical taste during that period. The level of enthusiasm for Wagner would have no doubt come as something of a surprise.
This apparent highbrow interest would not though have been the product of a resurgent interest in one of Adorno’s least favourite composers; it would instead have been the result of a large-scale engagement with the television singing competition The X Factor.
Millions of viewers of this show tuned in to watch comedic performances by a Brazilian-born contestant named Wagner. Presenters on the national radio station BBC Radio 5 Live spotted an opportunity for a lay experiment in the cultural capital of people on the street. They asked simply what was thought of Wagner. The measure of cultural capital arose from which Wagner the interviewee interpreted this question to be referring to – the comedic singer or the serious composer.
This might appear to be a somewhat banal example of cultural capital in practice, but what it points towards are what we refer to in this article as the hidden dimensions of the musical field. These are the dimensions of field that sociological methods make it hard for us to see or, to put it another way, this is to accept that our existing methods ‘enact’ (Law 2004, 2009) or constitute field in a particular way.
A new MTV study shows that music fans are expecting a closer and near constant relationship with artists in exchange for their attention. “Music To The M Power” shows how social media has dismantled barriers between artist and fans creating a “zero-distancing” effect. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pay for the music that they say they love. According to the study, buying music is little more than “symbolic patronage” for Millennial fans.
Vinyl retailers are thriving as well. Mr. Kassem of Quality Record Pressings also runs Acoustic Sounds, which sells LPs as well as turntables and accessories, including cleaning machines and protective sleeves. Music Direct, a Chicago company that owns Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, a storied audiophile label, has a similarly broad stock, including a selection of turntables that ranges from the $249 Music Hall USB-1 to the $25,000 Avid Acutus. Josh Bizar, the company’s director of sales and marketing, said that Music Direct sold 500,000 LPs and “thousands of turntables” last year.
And the buyers, Mr. Bizar said, are by no means boomer nostalgists.
“When you look at the sales for a group like Daft Punk,” he said, “you’re seeing young kids collecting records like we did when we were young.”
“We never expected the vinyl resurgence to become as crazy as it is,” he said. “But it’s come full circle. We get kids calling us up and telling us why they listen to vinyl, and when we ask them why they don’t listen to CDs, they say, ‘CDs? My dad listens to CDs — why would I do that?’ ”
Again and again and again, the “free music is the devil” theory doesn’t play out. The most plausible explanation—not to downplay the Internet’s role—is that the album widget, historically, was wildly overpriced, and the labels were lucky they got people to pay close to twenty bucks a pop for so long. (This is not a spitball theory; music executives love to admit this, off the record, and laugh loudly.) Being really good and building on organic audience—true of Daft Punk and The Weeknd and Danny Brown and Radiohead—seems to be most predictive of sales.
The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large. We are increasingly becoming a “winner-take-all economy,” a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented – and it is often hard to tell the difference – have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.