Seeking digital streams where content and community come together, over the past few months The Beatrix Generation has become available on different streaming sites; Jango, LastFM and Earbits as well as the Hip Hop leaning, but open to new electronica, Audio Mack. These one-stop audio drops offer free and premium streaming services that let you hear the latest independent music no matter the genre.
Each coming in with different perks and digital vibes alongside mainstays Soundcloud and Bandcamp, they provide the web with various listening zones and communities actively listening and curating music. Streaming technology has supporters (read Ari’s Take and why the end is nigh for downloads), as well as avid detractors (veteran artist David Bryne routinely and publicly challenges the economic sustainability of streaming). The too easy billion streams a cent model puts subscription services deep in the muck that surrounds money and arts in the digital freebie age.
Realistically, it’s hard to see a future outside of the cloud in some fashion. The convenience and expanse of online music libraries make it hard to resist especially for an on the go world who wants access everywhere all the time. The price of it all is still the big unknown, and the new film Unsound asks the question if no one is paying for music, how are the costs of making it going to be covered? Beyond the labels does being a musician mean never having to quit your day job or leave the road tour? As a creator myself, I see it as opening doors to new listeners who are a click away from hearing more. It might not be the route for every artist but for ones further away from populated centers, it blows away geographical barriers when it comes to musical appreciation. Reaching a global audience in the way terrestrial radio never could, it is exciting to learn of a new listener from Turkey or Venezuela. Beyond just feeling a sense of connection, it also gives you a window on to international ears, providing a reflection on the people, places and vibes you are striking. As an artist who communicates sound, your aim is to be heard. There has never been a platform that offered it so easily. I wonder given the nature of music if the past riches are just a brief attempt at trying to bottle the wind. It’s something you can feel, hear and even see but you can’t put it in a bottle and it’s even harder to get it under a price tag.