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I Can't Believe I Wrote This 22 Years Ago...

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  • I Can't Believe I Wrote This 22 Years Ago...

    I was going through my articles archives, and found something I wrote in 1995 (four years before Napster, if you're counting, and at the dawn of the commercial internet - two years before the first speculative bubble). Jim Aikin at Keyboard magazine had asked me to write something "visionary" for an issue, and here's what I wrote. Hmmm...

    “Not only will the tools we use to make music change, the means of distribution will change radically, and some of that will involve direct pipelining of digital audio into the home. Right now, we’re dealing with an information dirt road that is loaded with potholes. But when we have fast, affordable links to an information superhighway, all the rules change. Already technology has been demonstrated by AT&T that far surpasses ISDN; its commercial realization should not be too far away.

    “One concern is what you download the music to—CD recorder, hard disk, or what? But the idea of having a physical object representing music may become less common, as music-on-demand creates the equivalent of a 21st century jukebox. It may not make sense to pay $15 for a CD when you can simply pay fifty cents or so each time you want to listen to it. Not many people listen to a CD more than 30 times, especially if they can access any kind of music desired and be introduced to new sounds. Basically you’d be renting music instead of buying it, which will fit right in with the renting trend necessitated by the rapid amount of technological change—devices will depreciate so fast it will become harder and harder to amortize them.

    “Music may also adopt a two-tier system with regards to quality, as has historically been the case (LP and 45, CD and cassette). Compressed audio—inexpensive to download and store, but with compromised quality—could become the cassette of the future, while 20-bit or better, non-compressed audio becomes the equivalent of the CD.

    “Digital pipelining of music also simplifies royalty payment; you know exactly how many times an artist has been downloaded. And the environmental consequences are far more benign than manufacturing, packaging, and shipping CDs.

    “Does this mean the end of record stores? Probably not. People will still want physical objects of their most favorite music, as well as something to play while on the move. What digital pipelining will do is level the playing field and make it easier to expose new artists, as well as provide additional information, interactive fun and games, and graphics that couldn’t be included with a CD or tape.

    It will also make it easier for fans to locate particular types of music thanks to search functions; for example, if you wanted a listing of all vocal pop music released in Kenya featuring guitars during the last six months, this shouldn’t be too hard to do.”
    Last edited by Anderton; 11-20-2017, 09:39 PM.
    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

  • #2
    Craig,

    That`s pretty amazing. I think the only thing missing from your article was the iPhone... a digital device that we carry on us at all times that is pretty much connected to everything and everyone. Aside from that, you were pretty much right on target.

    Where do you see society in 20 years? Curious...

    EB

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    • #3
      I saw the writing on the wall when I ran my BBS in 1992-95 too. In 1992 we had MOD files on the BBS which were all the rage. Ahh well...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Makzimia View Post
        I saw the writing on the wall when I ran my BBS in 1992-95 too. In 1992 we had MOD files on the BBS which were all the rage. Ahh well...
        I had a BBS during that period, too. I remember getting an inquiry from a local newscaster asking about the practicality of recording his stories on his computer and sending them to the station via modem. I told him that recording was pretty easy and involved little more than doing what was needed to connect a civilized microphone to the computer's sound card. Sending in the story, though was a different story. Of course it was possible, but I did a quick calculation and told him how many hours (10 or 12 as I recall) it would take through a 1200 baud modem. He decided that a drive over to the studio with a reel of tape was still more efficient.
        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Makzimia View Post
          I saw the writing on the wall when I ran my BBS in 1992-95 too. In 1992 we had MOD files on the BBS which were all the rage. Ahh well...
          I was co-moderating a music related FidoNet board at the time, and remember MOD files... my how things have changed since then!
          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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          • #6
            Perhaps we should start calling you "Craigstradamus." Well done, Craig!

            Best,

            Geoff
            Enthusiasm powers the world.

            Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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            • #7
              Just thinking back I was using a Fostex X-28-H 4 track and migrating to win 95 with the Brian Eno crafted startup sound


              .

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              • #8
                You must have been a pup 22 years ago!


                Keeping the Harmony at Harmony Central

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ernest Buckley View Post
                  Craig,

                  That`s pretty amazing. I think the only thing missing from your article was the iPhone... a digital device that we carry on us at all times that is pretty much connected to everything and everyone. Aside from that, you were pretty much right on target.

                  Where do you see society in 20 years? Curious...
                  20 years...I have no clue. Predictions are about how well you can extrapolate. For example, if you say 2 + 2, it's easy to "predict" 4. When I wrote that how faster data transfers would impact music.

                  I'm not seeing 2 + 2 in today's world, but x + y + q + w + z. The biggest trend is celebration of the self, and a general unraveling of what ties a society together on a deep level of shared experiences. With a few exceptions, "social media" isn't about dialog, but broadcasting to like-minded people. If I look at the Facebook page of someone who's anti-Trump or pro-Trump, the Greek chorus will simply echo back whatever's being said.

                  The lack of dialog and meaningful communication, coupled with a distrust of all media, means that conventional means of communication will fall. Which is more important to people - an advertisement for a product, or the user reviews of it? I'd bet the latter. What this means is that information will become diluted and not vetted, leading to misconceptions and misinformation. We're already seeing that to a large degree. Ultimately, what this will lead to is solipsism being the norm. Maybe it already is.

                  The concept of "15 minutes of fame" simply means that a hierarchy of people will no longer exist. With no hierarchy, anyone can be famous. When you look at the people who are famous today in popular culture, it's not because they're admirable or represent ideals to which people aspire, but because they can attract attention for 15 minutes.

                  You can see this in the endless content that's churned out for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showtime, HBO, etc. - it's there to attract your attention for 15 minutes, throw some ads in front of you, and move on. There is no hierarchy of movies any more either, which is why movies aren't doing that great. The ones that make the most money are attention-getting FX fests that are often released on DVD in Target and on pay-per-view in hotels while the movie is still in the theaters.

                  Everything will be fleeting and transitory. Life will be more about experiences than things because things aren't fleeting and transitory, they're permanent and therefore, not desirable. No home will have a library because books are permanent. People will trade living in different homes, like Air BnB but as a lifestyle - not an inexpensive place to stay as opposed to a $400/night hotel room, but as how they'll live their lives. Manufacturing will jump from country to country even more than it is now. Nothing will be permanent in the way we've been brought up to think it is.

                  The big X factor is the dependence on technology. I've written about the implications of the grid going down, and they're horrifying. It also seems anything is hackable. If a terrorist group wants to get the US on its side, all it has to do is erase all the IRS computers

                  So the future will be a mixed bag of humans throwing off the concept of permanence, loyalty, and hierarchies in favor of experiences, speed, and self-absorption. That doesn't have to be bad, and may not because ultimately, the pendulum will swing back, and people will tire of isolation. They'll feel something is missing, and it will be the lack of a deep, human connection.
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                  Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                    The big X factor is the dependence on technology. I've written about the implications of the grid going down, and they're horrifying. It also seems anything is hackable. If a terrorist group wants to get the US on its side, all it has to do is erase all the IRS computers
                    That would be most welcome actually.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                      Everything will be fleeting and transitory. Life will be more about experiences than things because things aren't fleeting and transitory, they're permanent and therefore, not desirable. No home will have a library because books are permanent. People will trade living in different homes, like Air BnB but as a lifestyle - not an inexpensive place to stay as opposed to a $400/night hotel room, but as how they'll live their lives. Manufacturing will jump from country to country even more than it is now. Nothing will be permanent in the way we've been brought up to think it is.
                      I feel the same way. I think we`ll see a lot more subscription based content and leased hardware. As the technology improves exponentially, the consumer will want to experience the most recent and advanced computers, TVs, etc... which will only be possible through leasing on a 6-12 month basis. Why buy when you can get the latest/greatest every 6 months?

                      Amazon and Netflix will lead the way in subscription based content. Everything from movies to music to food will be accessed via phone. Content will be consumed in seconds, groceries will be delivered in minutes. Same as now, just more of it and faster.

                      You do mention people living in different spaces as well... I think we`ll see more shared communities, especially for younger adults. I see it here in NYC. But I do think as those young adults mature, they`ll eventually want their own place with their significant other(s). Which leads me to expand... I think the institution of marriage will be a rare occurrence. We`ll see households with 3-4 adults living together, raising each others children. Men living with 2-3 women and vice versa, households with 3-4 women or 3-4 men living together raising their own adopted children.

                      Religious institutions and museums will close and be replaced by condos.

                      Wars will be fought over water.

                      Overpopulation in India and Africa will become more threatening to our civilization than climate change.

                      Football and baseball will eventually be replaced with MMA.

                      The average song will go for no more than 2:30 seconds.

                      Chips will be implanted into our heads that will track every movement and interface directly into our brains so big brother can track our thoughts.

                      Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston will get back together again.
                      Last edited by Ernest Buckley; 12-05-2017, 06:21 AM.

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