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Ma musique14/02/2008 - par Mark Tungate
When did the age of music become irrelevant ? Like everything else, it has something to do with the Internet. When I was a teenager, my music consumption was driven by the Top 40 Singles Chart. Broadcast every sunday night on BBC Radio One, this was supposedly a list of the best-selling discs that week. In fact it was a music industry construct designed to encourage us to buy everything that was new, new, new ! Just as fashion trends prop up the clothing industry, the Top 40 ensured that we adopted the latest pop singers. First we'd buy the single, then the album. But thanks to the Internet, which has unbundled the marketing package known as the CD, individual songs have become more like books. When we go online to make a play list, it's like entering a bookstore. Sure, we're intrigued by new authors : but what we really want is something that suits our mood. And as bookstores do not pretend that new is automatically better, it could just as easily be a Russian classic as the latest Philip Pullman. In music terms, the Web is an infinite library. By the time we've compiled a soundtrack for our life, it might contain MIA, Beirut and Vampire Weekend, but it could also feature The Cure, Pulp and some early Led Zeppelin. Like books, downloads are ageless. The only marketing they need is the phrase : « If you like this, you might like... » Movies and TV shows are following. The Internet is a time machine, allowing us to explore different decades of creativity.