Pick a Side

In today’s Guardian, there’s a Q and A with Aimee Mann, which includes these reactionary snippets:

What’s the greatest threat to music?
Music downloads and CD burning.  If music is free, then the only people who can afford to make it are narcissistic jackasses who will do anything for attention.

Is the Internet a good thing for music?
It’s good for information, but pages like MySpace turn everyone into a musician, almost all of them terrible.  It’s as if people think there are bundles of money lying around, when actually becoming a musician is a drastic choice.

In other news, Kate Nash, who found pre-signing fame through MySpace, has the UK’s current number one single; “Foundations“.  She writes and records using GarageBand on an Apple Mac – an accessible sample sequencing program bundled free with the machine…  

So which camp are you in? Kate Nash or Aimee Mann?  Internet DIY or corporate grafter?

Me? I’m with Marshall McLuhan:

Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti environmental. (…)  The amateur can afford to lose.  The professional tends to classify and specialize, to accept uncritically the groundrules of the environment. 

Aimee Mann peddles the old trouper schtick that if you practice hard and have talent, if you graft and put in the hours, you will be noticed.  If that happens the end result is acceptance into the old order; the corporate music industry.  To do what though?  To fit within the parameters of that industry, where deviation from set templates – the environmental rules – is allowed only in incremental degrees.

The net has the potential to allow artists to sidestep the hours, the graft and the old order.  And those artists, though ostensibly still aping the same popular idioms as their “professional” peers, don’t have to follow the same rules.  Waiting for punk to happen again?  It’s happening right now.

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