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Digital Music Revolution | The Nation

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Digital Music Revolution

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I'm an artist, writer and musician whose work focuses on creating culture out of situations and scenarios; for me, music isn't music--it's information. I look at it as a raw resource: How does the music translate into a collage-based composition? As such, I need access to lots and lots of files. Much of the "material" I use comes from the public domain, and a lot of it comes from the private--it's a creative strategy based on sampling from archives and record collections.

About the Author

Paul D. Miller
Paul D. Miller, a k a DJ Spooky (http://www.djspooky.com), is a writer, artist and musician who lives and works in New...

These are strange times for the culture industry. There's tremendous potential to forge new art out of today's globalized digital environment. But we also have identity theft and credit-card fraud at huge levels. We have the software industry acting as an extension of various nation-states' local concerns (China and Saudi Arabia, for example). We have a music industry that is actively sabotaging the way people can interact with music software and shareware files. We have CDs that install rootkit spyware monitors into Windows media software. We have an ability, through the use of search algorithms and collaborative filters, to monitor consumer taste patterns at a level never seen before in human history. And last but not least, we have children growing up in a world where the Internet has completely altered the way they think about local and global music trends.

Much of the economy of the industrialized world is based on brand-name relationships--so one of the key questions of the digital age is, what happens when these relationships are imported into the virtual world of the Internet? While the music industry lives in fear of downloadable media, I want to see artists let people know that another world is possible, and digital media are part of the tool kit for re-engineering the collective psyche of a country bombarded with American Idol, reality TV and a debased and totally uninspiring media landscape. Look up, and ask yourself: Can you see the frequencies holding it all together? Would you be able to upload those ideals and share them? That's something we need to ask ourselves these days: Who speaks through you?

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