The Discomforts Of Digital Music

November 25, 2014 1:39 PM

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When it comes to music, the mood prompted by digital technology has shifted in recent years, from carnivalesque to callous. Pop star Taylor Swift is only the latest to bring attention to the trouble musicians are in, recently withdrawing her recordings from the streaming service Spotify, protesting its royalty scheme. In light of such high-profile outrage, it is easy to forget that there are still opportunities to use the Internet to access music more ethically--Bandcamp is one, and so (I'm told) is In these alternate economies, artists and audiences can mingle, and build one-to-one relationships, to a degree that was rarely possible in the analog era.

For such alternate economies to stand a chance, however, we listeners will have to become more curious, occasionally taking risks with art we might not like. Some would say that that's a lot to ask of human nature, especially in an age of profusion. When music has become yet another set of big data,...

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