ISSN : 2266-6060

The Death of the Music Industry, episode 1

Paris, october 2011.

Debates are explosive about the role of Internet, peer-to-peer exchanges and the invention of mp3, in the decrease of music sellouts. But they can be very abstract, with lots of statistics and economic demonstrations. There’s nothing such as a simple and nice handwritten note to re-embody that discussion and understand very concretely that, if the Web changed some things in this area, it could also be in a good way. A real blessing sometimes. But what does this thankful note especially dedicated to me have to do with new technologies and digital networks, you may ask. It’s all paper and ink… A lot, indeed. The CD that it accompanies is the result of the gathering of money all around the world, with the help of a service called Kickstarter. The trick is pretty simple: you make the promise to pay for a project, and if enough promises are gathered, the payments are activated and the project can be done for real. If not, nobody pays. It’s a test, for musicians in this case (but the service concern many other domains) : see if enough people are interested around the world and want to pay for their work, and sometimes pay even more for bonuses. A guarantee they won’t loose money and forge a very personal and strong tie with their public.
When it comes to describe complex socio-economic phenomena, the simplification of vocabulary in popular media is pretty frustrating. But actually, I kind of like the catchphrase « the death of music industry ». Mostly because of its « industry » part. What can Internet bring to music is a huge explosion of musical handicrafts, affordable for listeners and bearable for artists (in France, the great Microcultures have understood that, quite well). And some other small pleasures such as more and more nice words that will stay in the CD cases and the LP sleeves as an incredibly sweet and lovable form of receipt.