Tag Archives: music

Old technology making music

Two videos have caught eye this week, both of which use old gear to (re)create music. The first was a late entry to a Radiohead competition to remix “Nude” from their album In Rainbows. James Houston’s video was too late to qualify, which is a great shame. Says Houston:

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

The second is Stars Wars played on a floppy. Yes, played on a floppy. Wonderful.

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Billy Bragg nag

So stumbled upon this piece in the NY Times today by Billy Bragg about Bebo’s sale to AOL and the buzz at SXSW music – how musicians can make a living in the Age of the Internet (sic). My immediate thought was, well, you should have come a week earlier to the SXSW interactive bit… My second thought was about something more troubling.

In the piece, Bragg muses about the time Bebo’s co-founder, Michael Birch, came to see him shortly after he had That Spat about residual rights and his music with MySpace. Bebo wanted him help and advice on building an “artist centric platform”.

Bragg is bemoaning that the artists still have had no offer of payment as “thanks” for attracting the community and helping to build something worthy enough of the millions. But I am getting really bored of this.

The reason why is because these platforms, services and “communities” are not all about the professional artist. Yes, music and other parts of popular culture give people social objects to talk around and to build conversations and groups upon. But it is a complex ecosystem. Without the people themselves making the ties, the conversations, the fan art or wom tributes around these artifacts, there would be very little value.

So where do you draw the line? I am reminded of Cory Doctorow’s proclamation that content isn’t king – conversation is. Content just gives people something to talk about.

If Bragg feels he has the right to gain financial reward why can’t the other “sharecroppers”, as Nick Carr puts it?

We hear again and again that service a, application b would be nothing without the cast of community characters who make it so and give it its flavour. Well then, isn’t it about time we/they were recompensed too?

The Different Flavours of SXSW

It’s amazing how much a place can change in the space of 24 hours. The geeks have gone to be replaced by the Different Cool music crowd for SXSW. It is what the festival is *really* known for I guess. I wish I could stay for a bit longer but I didn’t bring my skinny jeans so I guess I have to leave.*

Note to self: the music crowd wear their badges hanging off their belts. The geeks stick them around their necks. What does that say about them?

Anyway, roll on next year: check out Jemima Kiss (Guardian), Chris Vallance (BBC) and I as we take a stroll down Cool Strip Number 6.

*The likelihood of me ever fitting into my skinny jeans again is oooohhh ZERO after all the animal flesh and hops I have consumed this week.