The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lots of Information

Lots of Information

I spent nearly the first 40 years of my interest in music without the advent of the internet. It used to be, if you wanted to find out about music from New Zealand, you got on a plane and went to New Zealand – subscribed to Rip It Up – befriended musicians / writers from New Zealand. Now, if you want to know – you just have to have a few names, internet access…and Wikipedia. Me? I had the distinct pleasure of going to New Zealand 7 times (over 20 years ago!), meeting lots of nice people and going through dozens of scintillating NZ record stores.

The internet means you don’t have to pay for music news from the N.M.E., Melody Maker, Ciao 2000, Oor, Music Life, Rip It Up, R.A.M., Rock et Folk, Rolling Stone, Mojo, Takarajima, Swing Journal, Classic Rock, Paste etc.

So now they’re trying to kill off CD’s – I recently read a nice article in a British magazine (that I paid for) about how it was possible to “kill off” the LP, but…not LP covers. To paraphrase that article, a record cover was your first clue as to what it was – even before you got to hear the music. I know, the retort these days is probably something along the lines of “I get to see a little picture of the artist on my phone when I download the song” – sorry, Charlie – it’s not the same as seeing it for sale in a record retailer… either printed on a 7” x 7” 45rpm sleeve or 12” x 12” LP cover – or, heck, even a 5” x 5” CD booklet! Again, I return to my ideas about artifacts – keeping records for the covers, keeping Rock Record and Music Master, back issues of Viva Rock, Zig Zag, Mo’ Better, Strange Things Are Happening, The Wire etc. Music + designed product = your total experience of that artist. Etc.

There are those who think that the internet means “free music for everybody” – as a recording artist, I do not like it when somebody posts one of my works on the internet – without my (or my publisher’s) permission – free of charge. It’s practically a “given” – someone is going to trade your music free of charge. On one hand, it’s a compliment – somebody wants to hear my music! But…but…I’m not dead yet! I have available published works that you can actually buy!

Well, here’s one thing the internet is good for that no printed magazine can provide you: my opinion (and lots of opinions just like mine!). It’s nice to read the voices of individuals on the ‘net. I love ‘opinion’ websites like Chowhound, Travel Advisor etc.

So, as ‘Word’ magazine (from England) constantly tells us, “It’s a great time for music!” – it’s true – tons of stuff is now available – nearly every bad 70’s record, tons of obscure punk and new wave 45’s, unlisten-able folk singers etc. – it’s all available to you. The quandary becomes… how do you get interested in something? I would put money on that you still have to see (i.e. read about) the thing to get interested in it. Oh, and, of course, you can hear something and want to hear more. Doesn’t matter to me whether you pay $10 an issue for Record Collector or read about it on the ‘net… or if you hear it on satellite radio or the internet. Or from your friend who bought it first.


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