The lower tier support structures have splintered as the kids who used to save their cash for college rock become ragingly omnivorous: your average hard-working indie band now competes with Justin Timberlake, Thai pop, and some Nonesuch Explorer disc that David Byrne namechecked on his blog. They also have to compete with 100 years’ worth of records that are better than anything they’ll ever make. We have endless choices, and almost none of them see the spotlight. But the real problem is that artists chase the spotlight in the first place. And anything short of superstardom looks like a consolation prize. Consider a different model: cooking. Cooks aren’t rock stars. A few turn into international celebrities, but they’re the exception. Most chefs run a kitchen and feed people ten feet away. In big cities or backwater towns, nobody looks down on you if you’re feeding them well. And there’s plenty of room for amateurs. Have someone over for dinner, and you’re a civilized host; break out a guitar, and you’re an asshole.I wonder, as the author of this piece does, if what will happen with the endless and infinite distribution of endless and infinite music by endless and infinite artists will result in music returning to what it was before music could be recorded: the main purview of the musician being the living room.
Four or five months ago when I was thinking about this problem, I decided that the reason people didn't go out wading into the muck of the basement musician to find things worth a listen was that it was just too frickin' hard to filter. I tried with the little music capsule at left to add my own filter to the noise and it lasted about a month before I gave up, and the capsule has been stuck on Grizzly Bear since July (still a great band you should check out, by the way). I'll take it down the next time I'm thinking about it. In any case: individuals' blogs becoming little mini-Pitchforks: Not The Answer.
I don't what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure the Rock Star isn't going away: we need Him or Her for the same reason that we need religion. On the other hand, I am now equally sure that the The Recording is going to kill The Recording Artist. HeyI should write a song about that.