Wednesday, March 02, 2011

William Gibson on the end of the record industry

A rejoinder from William Gibson to the claim that the 20th century music industry was a natural state of affairs:

'In the early 1920s... there were still some people in this country who hadn't yet heard recorded music. Not many, but a few. That's less than a hundred years ago. Your career as a "recording artist"... took place towards the end of a technological window that lasted less than a hundred years, a window during which consumers of recorded music lacked the means of producing that which they consumed. They could buy recordings, but they couldn't reproduce them. The Curfew [fictional band in the novel] came in as the monopoly on the means of production was starting to erode. Prior to that monopoly, musicians were paid for performing, published and sold sheet music, or had patrons. The pop star, as we knew her... was actually an artifact of preubiquitous media... Of a state in which "mass" media existed, if you will, within the world'. 'As opposed to?' 'Comprising it'.' (Spook Country, 2007).

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