Indie Music 2020

Anne Stewart who writes The Buzz for GigHive asked for my thoughts about the future of the Indie Music Scene.. The feature is here: Indie Music 2020

Here's what i wrote...

"One thing that really caught my attention in the last week is that Apple purchased lala.com, which says to me that the biggest online music retailer will be moving to a more subscription-based model and will start allowing and encouraging users to keep their music in the cloud. This probably means that an obsession over storage capacity will give way to prioritizing bandwidth and constant connectivity.

As an independent musician, I always champion the dissolution of music prisons (DRM, mainstream record stores, horded music collections) because they prevent the flow of media and subculture from reaching the listener. When everyone’s music is in the cloud it will hopefully be easier to exchange and access new streams, though maybe the opposite is true if iTunes wants to tell you how to manage your music.

Another thing that I’m pleased to see happening at Bandcamp.com is that they are offering high-resolution versions of their artists’ music. This is an exciting trend because for all the joys of the mp3 craze it has caused a real devaluing of the high-fidelity listening experience. Listening to 128 kbps is like injecting bit-rot into your brain.

That is all in the next 2 years. After that, it’s anyone’s game. A few ideas:
  • Cell phones become a significant music production platform. They’ve already become home to demos and sketches for nearly everyone I know. I’m still waiting for the first #1 megahit produced on an iPhone.
  • Auto-tune is going to start to sound really dated.
  • I’m listening to how recording/producing is changing in indie music. Something that’s gone along with the loss of fidelity in the mp3 generation is that crisp and clean recordings aren’t so precious anymore. That used to be the signal of a professional studio but now a digital recording in a quiet apartment can be cleaner than an old studio recording with tape hiss (though now we have computer hum). So people are becoming more and more creative with how they are introducing noise and space into their recordings. Artists are getting more and more sophisticated with recording technology. I assume that most bands start recording themselves these days, so when they start working with a producer, they already have a developed idea of how they should sound recorded.
  • I’m heartened that the indie music scene has seemed amenable to real sonic experimentation and I foresee that only developing further. There is still somewhat of a mandate for rhythm but on top of that you can do nearly anything and people will be interested. People are getting used to massive amounts of parallel input and maybe that opens up avenues for composers and songwriters.”

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