2017 Workgroup Topic Proposals

Reimagining a Culture of Music Discovery and Creation

A love of music is at the root of all our passions for audio.  The ways that you and I learned to appreciate listening to, and creating music, are going to be different than the ways that people listen to and create music in the future.  There is a constant struggle between the disruption and preservation of those methods.

Record stores have been closing steadily since the demise of Tower Records, streaming music via YouTube and Spotify are becoming preferred to AM/FM, and Guitar Center is $1.3 billion in debt, while Amazon is thriving.  The romance of digging through dusty record crates to find two copies of a great break on vinyl, has been fading like a well-loved album cover.  Music discovery, once a truly social activity requiring physical presence, grueling research, and conversation, has become more voyeuristic and individualized through the use of social media and search engines.  Over the past century, passive solitary music consumption has overtaken active group musical performance.  Percentages of discretionary income spending are also shifting away from musical content and moving toward hardware devices that commoditize music.

However, with tectonic shifts come opportunity.

  • Fundamentally, one of the greatest powers of music is to bring people together, and bringing people together is core to building community, identity, and purpose.  How could the power for music to connect people be amplified in a positive way?
  • What problems could be solved in the next generation of music discovery?
  • How could this industry inspire a viral interest in music education and creation, or redefine those terms?
  • How could brick-and-mortar record stores and musical instrument stores reinvent themselves not just to survive, but to thrive?
  • What incentives could be created to drive an employment boom in the greater music industry?
  • What should the 5, 10 and 20-year goals and roadmap be for music discovery and creation?

3 thoughts on “Reimagining a Culture of Music Discovery and Creation

  1. I saw the note about what’s happening with music retail (record stores). Thinking about vinyl (therefore, in a few ways, retail), I don’t have recent numbers (though I bet JJP does, plus some others in the BBQ list). But not long ago, vinyl was the fastest growing segment of music sales. And around Boston, where I’m at, a few retail stores have opened (!!) this decade. I suspect this points to a localization (and a de-corporatization) of retail and music distribution, but I’d love to hang around a few people who know what they’re talking about discuss this in the upcoming week.

    Also, hat tip to Alex for the Byrne article link. Very interesting. I thank the two of you for this gem:
    “A study earlier this year by two social scientists, Holly Shakya at UC San Diego and Nicholas ­Christakis at Yale, showed that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel about their lives.”

    (Fistbump to Shakya and Christakis)

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