Analog, How I Fear Thy Departure

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars.

Is this the future present so many people are afraid of?

cd-burn-1.jpg

Byrne’s one of those quirky visionaries and he does have a point. Still, I wonder… Perhaps, first and foremost, this notion whereby the internet will stick around for eternity, providing us with instantly downloadable digital delight, might well be a fantasy. Second: people like to own stuff. This is about tangible goods. Cardboard LP sleeves. Actual, physical CD boxes even.

The internets is a fragile house of cards. What if we come to depend on it for our sole source of music/entertainment? Am I being an old analog fart?

You tell me.

13 Responses to “Analog, How I Fear Thy Departure”

  1. Hank_Peters says:

    Sharleena, as a teenager growing up in this digital dependent world, I can say that more people are starting to see CDs as a inconvenience, mostly because they find the idea of [i]buying music[/i] laughable. They also bullshit about not wanting to waste gas money or take too much time out of their day for a silly little thing like music. The internet [i]can[/i] be good for the advertisement of music, but it should not be sole distributer. Have you ever downloaded an album from iTunes that you already owned in some sort of physical form? For whatever reason, iTunes automatically re-equalizes everything, fucks up the levels, and turns my favorite albums un-listenable trash. While I never use iTunes, what worries me is that more people are going to become used to this, and I think it could make people dislike music that’s actually worth listening to. But what do I know?

  2. jane23 says:

    digital farts
    all those zeros and ones
    sounds painful
    but seriously, CDs are not analog and are therefore as fragile as the “internets”, (thank you George, Al Gore invented the internet and “43” mispronounced it).
    Zeros and ones, now you hear it, now you don’t, when something can either be in an ON state or an OFF state there is always the possibility that it will become stuck in the OFF state and no longer exist.
    Ever lost all your digital files because your hard drive crashed?
    One Big Zero.

  3. mess says:

    I love analog, but the music business needs to change. Shouldn’t artists be happy recording and releasing at their own pace? When it stops being about money it can focus on art again. For me it’s almost liberating, I can write and release whatever I want to and never think twice about pushing it on a label.

  4. jim says:

    Digital only becomes a monolith when everyone ditches analog, & they haven’t yet – despite decades on end of intense marketing to do just that. They had to bring 10 & 12 inch LPs back. No need to have a “Digital Versus Analog” debate. We need both!

    Digital is indeed awesome for open-scaled immediate & unmediated communication, via either music or non-music.

    Think I heard somewhere that the young lady that won Yahoo’s UK music contest (via a DIY-webcam video) neither uses nor likes Yahoo. The cybernetics of our culture has changed that much.

  5. urbangraffito says:

    My twenty year old son just went out and bought 6 mint condition used LPs produced, for the most part, before he was born (The Tubes, Young and Rich; The Cars, The Cars; Marianne Faithfull, Broken English; Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense; The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta and Synchronicity). The big record labels (Sony, Warner Bros., etc) may want to “lease” their catalog of music like computer software, but if my own offspring is any indication, people will always want to “own” their music to hold and to share. It’s a personal thing. Analog to me will always equal humanness, while digital is too perfect, too machine-like. Sure, there is a place for both in the world. But really, which would you want to cosy up to on the couch?

  6. Sharleena says:

    That’s right, cds are not analog and actually it wasn’t my intention to install a “Digital Versus Analog” debate. What i meant was a “material” support for music as opposed to the zeros and ones that you can’t hold and handle, and may get lost in a snap…
    As an example: Barry bought via iTunes Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”; he still misses having a proper booklet/box to “complete” the product. It’s just not the same.
    As much as i love the idea of autogestionary iniative of artists being able to release their work at will, i believe it doesn’t apply to everybody. Would Amy be able to release her own stuff by herself? I don’t think so. That doesn’t make her less talented, it’s just some people can’t do it…
    So i think we still need record labels, but they should adapt their business to the fact that things have changed these days…

  7. Jamez says:

    [quote comment=”78″]My twenty year old son just went out and bought 6 mint condition used LPs produced, for the most part, before he was born (The Tubes, Young and Rich; The Cars, The Cars; Marianne Faithfull, Broken English; Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense; The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta and Synchronicity). The big record labels (Sony, Warner Bros., etc) may want to “lease” their catalog of music like computer software, but if my own offspring is any indication, people will always want to “own” their music to hold and to share. It’s a personal thing. Analog to me will always equal humanness, while digital is too perfect, too machine-like. Sure, there is a place for both in the world. But really, which would you want to cosy up to on the couch?[/quote]

    EVERYONE should buy ‘Young and Rich’ by the Tubes! P.S. a lot of late-teens/ early twenties are getting into music of the ’70s and ’80s (and not just into early Zeppelin stuff either). Some of ’em are even discovering Zappa!

  8. bernard says:

    A good recent book on various musical formats ( viinyl, Cds; mp3s) is from Timothy Dowd , http://www.sociology.emory.edu/tdowd/ .

    Don’t think I’m actually following all posiible publications on this item; He was recently in europe ( guest prof at the Universities of Rotterdam & Brussels ) and give a series of interesting interviews.

  9. bernard says:

    It’s ” From 78s’ to MP3’s – The Embedded Impact of Technology in the Market for Prerecorded Music”.

  10. urbangraffito says:

    [quote comment=”79″]That’s right, cds are not analog and actually it wasn’t my intention to install a “Digital Versus Analog” debate. What i meant was a “material” support for music as opposed to the zeros and ones that you can’t hold and handle, and may get lost in a snap…
    As an example: Barry bought via iTunes Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”; he still misses having a proper booklet/box to “complete” the product. It’s just not the same.
    As much as i love the idea of autogestionary iniative of artists being able to release their work at will, i believe it doesn’t apply to everybody. Would Amy be able to release her own stuff by herself? I don’t think so. That doesn’t make her less talented, it’s just some people can’t do it…
    So i think we still need record labels, but they should adapt their business to the fact that things have changed these days…[/quote]

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. The ultimate rule of thumb has been, and will always be, “Give The People What They Want!” If one record company, or label, doesn’t, another will. Perhaps one day the vinyl record will go extinct, but only when replaced by something appropriately better (and something that Barry can get his hands on to, too!).

  11. jane23 says:

    In the olden days before the phonograph was invented there was a lot more music which was actually played live. Many households had a piano in the parlor. You would see the person performing. No cardboard cover at which to stare. I started going to concerts in the 1960s. The Jefferson Airplane, Absolutely Freeeeeeee. Next, The Mothers of invention, Cost: $3.50. Then, Mountain, Jethro Tull, Led Zepplin, the Doors, Cost: $3.50, and that was for the expensive seats!!! No cardboard covers involved. I would buy a lot of LP records and stare at the artwork and endlessly read the liner notes. Cardboard, yes, but somehow, a physical representation of the musical content seemed really important and necessary in order to function as the missing visual component of watching somebody play live. Then came the CD. The cardboard disappeared and it became increasingly difficult to stare at the artwork and read the liner notes.
    Then, the MP3. It’s still about the music, Amy Winehouse for instance, but the cardboard is gone and so is any physical representation of the music. How much is a ticket to a concert these days?

  12. Hugh says:

    As long as there are “Heads” there’ll need album covers to “roll” on.
    I imagine those damn leaves can get stuck rolling over your keyboard.

  13. Jeroen says:

    Just this week I was very relieved to find out that Mike Keneally decided to make his rarities collection a real cd. I need cover art, I need liner notes, I want people to come to my house and see my musical taste (just like good books that are resting, waiting to be seen – I hate libraries).

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