There’s no doubt that the entire world of art is going through a technology-driven upheaval. The Music Business Is Burning Down, Thank God! explores the ways that is impacting the music industry: the proliferation of digital downloads, the impossibility of protecting intellectual property, and the consequent impossibility of maintaining economic dominance for a few big record-industry giants. It’s the end of the music world as we’ve known it, Otto D’Angolo might be singing, and I feel fine. Where he goes with this is to say that what is undeniably bad for the corporate big-shots of the music world is a potential boon for artists and the listening public, removing the filters, the jump-through hoops, and the dominance of the middlemen and gatekeepers. The book includes, appropriately enough, a free music CD of Caesar Bach – just to give the reader a taste of what he’s talking about.
The end of the music business as we’ve known it – where to from here?
It’s a timely volume. The music industry is in upheaval and the voices of gloom and doom are loud and ubiquitous. But D’Agnolo remains optimistic, and sees a golden age around the corner full of blooming creativity and a proliferation of wonder. Now it could be he’s a little too optimistic in some ways. The music business is slightly behind the book business in making this leap, and the emasculation of the gatekeepers in publishing has resulted not only in a flowering of creativity but also in a proliferation of weeds; it becomes increasingly difficult to find the good stuff amid the drek, and from the other side for the good stuff to be found and support the author. There’s no reason not to expect the same thing, more or less, in music. Every new age has its problems as well as its benefits. Still, this book presents a decent remedy for the gloom talk. Music isn’t going to disappear, and the changes will bring good things as well as bad ones. Well written and often funny.