When discussing the future of any kind of publication, naturally the subject of online platforms is bound to come up. What is the value of having all of those voices out there, if many of them don’t have much of value to say? “A platform is only as good as what they bring to it,” said Moon, and I’m inclined to agree – it’s like an open mic out there right now, and you have to wade through the half-assed efforts to get to the real kernels of talent. But they are out there, and over time, they will rise to the attention of the public at large. For many, the web is a way to send their voices out into a world with a narrowing field of publication spaces, and practice the craft long enough to develop a voice of quality.
Three days of discussions, thoughts, arguments, and ideas cannot really be boiled down to a single phrase, but in tribute to all of the 100-word record reviews out there, I’m going to try.
In almost every panel, every discussion, this was the core message that came through. Don’t suck at playing music. Don’t suck at writing about it. Don’t suck at seeing the bigger picture. Don’t suck at realizing that future potential of technology is more important than squashing it short-term gains.
The universe of music, and music writing, is expanding. There is more to talk about, and more ways to talk about it. You can hear a track as soon as you read about it, download an album right after reading a review, be pointed to a new band or genre on online radio. The “musical ecosystem” is thriving, and music writing is an integral part of it – the guide on the raft, navigating the river flowing through the dense jungle of what’s out there. As long as we don’t suck.
You can view archived streams of the conference at The Future of Music Coalition's website.