This is not an ad. Well, yes – obviously it’s an ad, but Microsoft have not paid me to place this here. I bring you this just to spark a discussion about the endgame of music performance and production in the digital age.
Because although this is absolutely excruciating (I struggled to make it right through the video) – and it might just be the FrontPage of music making (and you have no idea how much I detest FrontPage) – there’s certainly something to be said about the idea of Garageband or Logic in every home. Isn’t there?
This is not a discussion about Apple versus Microsoft (unless that’s what you’d like it to be). It’s a discussion about the place of music professionalism in the face of technologically-enabled amateurism. If it’s cheap and easy for everyone to make music, then what?
It’s all very well being able to buy music instantly, and take it everywhere with you. But somehow, it feels like we’ve lost something along the way with downloading. Music – at least, recorded music – used to be this thing that you would hold in your hand, treasure, read through the liner notes and yeah – smell.
As a wise man once said: “Don’t front like you’ve never licked a record…”
I even met a prominent music industry professional this week who clearly recalls taking his early record purchases to bed with him, and keeping them under his pillow as he slept. But none of these things are ‘the music’. They’re all the bits around the music. It’s the artefact, the artwork, the accompanying text – and not actually the recording of the tune that was being loved in this way.
And while of course we love the music, when you separate the recording from the artefact, things change.
When I get asked this question, it’s usually by young bands who have developed something of a following through touring, by being really active with their online promotion (typically via MySpace) and by keeping and maintaining a healthy and regular online mailing list.
Their idea is that they would like to perform concerts that fans in other geographic locations could ‘attend’ by going to their website and watching a live webcast of the event. Their second choice is usually to record the concert and post it on YouTube (or similar) and embed it on their site.
Now, it has to be said that live streaming is generally expensive, resource intensive and a bit of a pain – especially if you want more than a few people to watch at once. There are solutions to that, which I’ll discuss – but it’s worth mentioning that there are all sorts of other variations on the theme.
A week or more of the site being offline, and more than a week before that of some teething issues as we tried (with varying degrees of success) to carry off The Great Hosting Migration of 2008.
As far as we can tell, everything is pretty much as it should be now. Links should lead to places they are meant to go, pictures should display where pictures should display, and by and large, we can return you to your irregularly scheduled programme.
Please let me know if you spot any problems. Thanks very much.
Well, the good news is, I have wrested ownership of https://newmusicstrategies.com back from my old webhosts. They were not nearly as evil as they could have been about it, and my only problems with them are:
1) the ruthless efficiency with which they turn off the switch and seize control of your assets if you hit the end of the contract, regardless of what the circumstances are; and
2) their shockingly poor communication and dire customer service unless you make a huge fuss.
They didn’t do anything really wrong by the letter of the law, but they were pretty unpleasant to deal with for the most part.
So anyway. That’s the good news – and the site should be operational again in all its glory in no time at all. Thanks so much for all your advice, help, support and good wishes.
And on the flip side…
The bad news is I left my phone and wallet in a taxi last night, and so I’ve spent today cancelling stuff and trying to get some sort of response out of the taxi company other than just ‘nobody’s handed it in’. Other than that, it was an excellent night out.
If you’re reading this anywhere near the time I’m writing this, you’re either getting it in an email, or it’s popping up in your RSS feeds. How do I know you’re not looking at the website? Because it’s not there.
If you were to visit the website New Music Strategies right now, you would not see what you would ordinarily expect. It has been replaced by one of those holding pages with ads on it of the kind that unscrupulous domain poachers tend to use.
What unscrupulous domain poachers could possibly have done such a heinous thing? My own webhosts, actually: UKHost4U. Let me explain.
Its aim is to provide useful resources, advice and strategies for innovation and success in the independent music sector in a rapidly changing technological environment.
NMS examines emerging technologies (and buzzwords) such as AI, blockchain, metaverse and 'Web 3.0', but focuses primarily on sustainability, music as a tool for social change, participation, equality and inclusion, and the ways in which music technologies can build better worlds.