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✘ How do we create new economic markets for music?
And: Global community driving African Music on; Thinking of a start-up; Unison launches global rights management platform; Museumification of Techno; Spirit in the Technopolis
The week before last I asked you what you’re excited about. We followed that article with two amazing guest contributions on the impact of AI in music. That is, indeed, something to get excited about. New creative expressions and dataset cooperatives definitely excite me. The latter, as any cooperative organization does, point towards equitable remuneration. What I wrote about is how important it is to have artists at the centre of all of these discussions. I’ve been reading Mariana Mazzucato’s Mission Economy while in Italy last week and it made me reflect on how we can actually create new economic markets for music. Here’s my first bullet point ideas about this, which I’ll hopefully put together in a more organized and grounded way in the near future:
Any new market must be creator-driven. I say ‘creator’ because it involves more than just the musicians. There’s a whole set of creators that will benefit from investment in and development of new systems, money flows, and revenue models.
There’s a strong need for institutional support to make this happen.
Monetization should be at the heart of this new market (or these new markets), but it’s not a goal. Instead, each element needs to be assessed as either working towards the goal of being a new market enabler, or have a specific purpose that will release a previously undervalued part of music - in the broadest sense of the term - as an industry.
We need a bunch of experiments to make this happen. It could be wise to have most of these work with a form of centralized ideation and decision-making but decentralized execution on the project level.
These experiments will find focus through clear goals. More generally, goal-setting will help unearth new markets. Think about this in terms of a set time period before a specific thing should be achieved. Then set out to do it. Don’t hesitate to set anti-goals as well, by the way, to help delineate what you shouldn’t be getting into.
Mazzucato looks at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to help bring about the previous point. Music can take advantage of this, too. Take SDG #9, which calls for the building of resilient infrastructure, the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialization and to foster innovation. A new music market needs resilient infrastructure and invites creators into value chains. Done right, it will also create affordable and equitable access for all creators, no matter their background or geographical location. I’m also enthusiastic about the opportunities a new music market could have on SDG #4, concerning quality education. Preparing students for this new market could be the kickstart needed to radically reimagine music courses in higher education. Focus should shift to preparing students for problem-solving, community-building, storytelling, design, and process. Which in turn requires teachers to remain flexible and educational institutions to change their curriculum basically every year.
Just to reiterate, it is essential to engage with artists/creators and fans/users about this to help shape the vision of what a new market could look like.
🗺️ How global community drives African music's momentum (Christine Osazuwa)
“These breakthroughs serve as a gateway to open up the continent for more recognition and growth. The value of music and subsequently fans from Africa was often dismissed due to the low streaming rates & market penetration in comparison to the West while failing to consider a young & large population within the continent hungry for music (and bursting with musical talent!). People also overlook the immense influence the continent has always had on the rest of the world. Obviously, the importance of the African diaspora should not to be overlooked. Before Burna Boy was selling out stadiums he was played on the dance floors at Nigerian weddings in DC and Atlanta, his videos were forwarded through WhatsApp messages, he was heralded as the G.O.A.T. long before he stepped foot on the Madison Square Garden stage.”
✘ I’m a big supporter of this thinking. The world of hits continues to expand and people across the globe are getting used to sounds they never used to hear before.
✉️ letter to a friend who is thinking of starting something new (Sari Azout)
“Defaulting to the norms of your industry will shape your business to be similar to the rest, where the best entrepreneurs zero-in on their self expression. Do you have an eye for good design? Inject design into a tasteless industry. Do you have a knack for writing? Share your journey and commit to learning in public. Are you funny? Inject humor into your copy. You have to be willing to overcome the defaults and orient your business around the things that define you, all the way down to your KPIs. The things you measure should reflect the things you value.”
✘ Everyone who’s building something, which includes every single musician putting out music, should read this. It’s full of empathetic advice that I hope people will take to heart. I know I’ll try to do the same!
🤜 Spain’s Unison launches global management platform for digital rights, SOLO (Mandy Dalugdug)
“SOLO said it seeks to address this issue [of improper data registration] by establishing transparent and unified management of all digital rights in one central hub. The platform is built on a foundation of metadata to ensure precise tracking of usage and timely distribution of earnings to rights holders, Unison added.”
✘ Long-time readers of MUSIC x will know I think highly of Unison and their work to change the way CMOs work. If you’d like more background on this, read my piece on collective rights management and allocation.
🖼️ The museumification of techno (Michelle Lhooq)
“The museumification of techno is rightly cementing its Black pioneers as canonical figures. But who gets to be chosen as the ambassadors of this culture, and who gets erased, or dismissed, as inconsequential to the grand arc of history? Can we preserve and perpetuate the important narrative that techno is Black, while also acknowledging that toxic masculinity and sexual assault are entrenched in both techno’s past and contemporary scenes? Or are we too afraid that piercing its romanticized mythology may derail the upward trajectory of this culture—just at the moment when it’s finally getting its due?”
✘ If you care about techno, read this. If you don’t care about techno, read this. Whether you’re into the music or not, Michelle puts forward a thoughtful piece about what happens when a music built around otherness and hedonism gets placed within the four white walls and subsequent status.
📡 Spirit in the Technopolis (Peco Gaskovski)
“Screens and machines are shaking up the world, but I don’t think the outcome will be perpetual instability. Rather, we will transition into a civilization of people who are light and insubstantial. The devices that govern our lives will keep us on the surface of things: the surface of time, by forcing too much hurry and efficiency; the surface of relationships, which will be shallower and more functional; the surface of information, which will keep us credulous; the surface of our own thoughts and feelings, which will keep us alienated from our own depths. The citizen of the future Technopolis will be an airport species of human, one with a thin identity: as light as luggage, as homeless as a migrant.”
✘ A think-piece on how we relate to technology and an excellent read to go along with the previous recommendation. What do we become when we fully engage our bodily and spiritual selves with technology? And, how can spiritualities help us break from that determinism?
This is terrifyingly good. It’s also terrifyingly insane. Then, it’s terrifyingly loud. And, on top of that, it’s terrifyingly fast. I’m sure this isn’t for all readers, but I’d love to give you the opportunity to enjoy some pretty extreme music. My 7-year old likes it, so why won’t you?