Well, whatever you make of the Aqua vs Radiohead thing, it’s fair to say (as Maurice points out in the comments) it’s a dead end that, had it been a promotional exercise for Sebastiaan’s band, it would have been one that “would give Krusty the Clown an integrity attack”.

Maybe. Perhaps he owes me a beer – but for the most part, that’s not what this is about. This conversation was naturally occurring and involved no exchange of money. But thanks for the marketing pointers. Because actually, you’ve hit upon the hidden point of this whole discussion.

Even if anyone who’s ever touched upon critical theory would have bucketloads of fun ripping both my and Sebastiaan’s arguments to shreds – and it wouldn’t be too taxing to deconstruct and dismantle either position – the simple fact is that these are the sorts of conversations that people who really love music tend to find themselves in.

It’s not a pissing contest, and I’m not selling tickets. The simple fact is that my favourite conversations about music are those in which I disagree with someone about something irrelevant like how important one artist is in comparison to another, what ‘culture’ means when it comes to popular music, how valuable the charts are, whether Eric Dolphy was a better sax player than John Coltrane or which five albums you could leave me with on a desert island.

Now, the smart money is on the fact that I’m not alone in doing this – and nor are you. If Jack Black and John Cusack have taught us anything, it’s that.

And if you want to spend a bit of time looking at the media environment, trying to figure out a way of making money out of it, it would be this: stage a pissing contest and sell tickets. Or, to look at it another way — be the context for those sorts of conversations to take place.

In other words – rather than sell music online, which involves customers coming to you, leaving you cash in exchange for some files and then buggering off – strike up a conversation. Engage their enthusiasm. Let them have these sorts of inane arguments about what constitutes culture. Give them links and resources to discuss these things further.

Because in the online environment, if we’re ‘making internet’ or whatever we want to call this process that we do now that music is content rather than media, then one of the strengths of this internet thing we should be making is its interconnectivity.

The liner notes of the digital world should rightly be conversations, rather than essays.

The online environment is, in pure Media Ecology terms, an oral medium. Far more than electric media, it is an all-at-once, surrounding, parcipatory and immersive environment. Beyond the campfire tale, it’s the late night debate over things weighty and inconsequential, life and art, culture and commerce, grand and miniscule – and we’re all welcome to take the floor and chip in.

In other words: don’t sell product, sell relationship. Don’t announce, discuss. Don’t distribute, share. That’s what this is about. And as if just waiting for this to take place, Amplive has just settled with Radiohead and has released, for free, his Rainydayz remixes of the In Rainbows album. With the eventual endorsement of Radiohead themselves, no less.

Radiohead may not be sufficiently archetypal representations of The Goddess, but I suppose at least they’re engaged in the ongoing creation and reshaping of culture in the online environment. They are part of the conversation. Aqua have said their piece and have left the building.

Feel free to continue the fake plastic discussion in the comments.

In the meantime, have a free bit of remix culture with my best wishes.

Thanks for playing.


Incidentally, thanks too for the eMusic picks. I went with the Fresh Sound New Talent label pointer. I have lots of Azymuth in my collection already, and I’m not yet ready for Vernon Reid to re-enter my life.

As a result, I rediscovered Jerome Sabbagh, who used to play with some kiwi jazz musicians I know. Listening and liking now. Cool.