Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In order to really disrupt music, try slicing the cones of your guitar amp

Do you love music but hate the industry? What's it going to take in order for fans to access the pantheon of recorded music whenever, wherever, and in the highest quality? Its unsustainable for you to package the music with plastic and then dispose the many unsold copies, so that model is over. Alas, we get web sites, apps and services that offer us these morsels of memory for free or nearly free. Great, you say, well, the experiment that is Muxtape and the industry that Pandora has become threatened. I don't see how Muxtape survives, but Pandora should be able to charge for the valuable service to their large customer base, thus placating the investors' concerns.

In the aftermath, Chris Pirillo has convinced me to check out grooveshark. The founders boldly proclaim that they are cleaning up the mess that is the music industry. Godspeed, but there is much work to be done. First of all, fix the metadata. I know most of your users' mp3 collection is a lazy mishmash of Unknown Artist and Track 01, but there are methods to clean this up. And, it makes browsing a chore. Still streaming me 5 million tracks for free or for a text-based ad, I'm not complaining, much.

So, in order to spend an evening listening to every Kinks song I've never heard, I had to fire up ye olde Wikipedia page. The community did a bang up job for Ray and the boys. It was fascinating to learn how Dave Davies came up with the sound that not only launched their career but created the sound that would beget hard rock, heavy metal, punk, new wave, garage rock, grunge, and indie rock.

With a loud, distorted guitar riff — achieved by Dave's slicing of the speaker cones in his Elpico amplifier (referred to by the band as the "little green amp") — gave the song its signature, grittier guitar sound.
So, that's Disruption and Distortion with a capital "D." In order to distinguish their brand amongst the plethora of British pop groups, they used a blade. I like that. The Kinks never enjoyed the commercial success of the Beatles, Stones or Who. But, they started a revolution and history judges memeticians kindly.

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