Wednesday 11 April 2001
The net.music cybersalon examines the transformation of music-making by peer-to-peer computing - and its consequences for the rest of society. In his seminal text Noise, Jacques Attali celebrates the prophetic power of music. For instance, the constant turnover of hit records in the 1920s prefigured the mass consumerism of late-twentieth century Fordism. According to Attali, each epoch of music-making creates its own specific social, technological and aesthetic paradigms: stars, fans, record companies, copyright laws, pieces of plastic, top 40 singles and experimental albums. Yet, at the beginning of a new century, these fixed Fordist forms are being superseded. What began with a few skilled DJs mixing vinyl now involves almost everybody with access to a computer and the Net. This new situation won't just create new social, technological and aesthetic paradigms for music-making. As in the past, music is pioneering a new political economy for the whole of society. Napsterisation is a prophecy of the peer-to-peer future.