Will file sharing on the internet and MP3ís ruin music? The fear is whether having all the music be on MP3ís instead of CDís will cause the ďalbumĒ as we know it to gradually go away. Of course, weíll still have the old ones, but the trend may encourage todayís musicians to dribble out singles onto their MySpace page instead of working over a period of time to actually build something. Sort of like what email has done with correspondence, but now itís music? Iím not saying a hit song is bad. Iím just saying that complete albums are good. And I personally donít want to see less of them. I want to see more of them. More. Not less. And furthermore, how often is it the case where your favorite songs end up being anything but the ones that made you buy the album in the first place? Exactly. But you wouldnít know now would you? Since you only downloaded those first couple of songs.


The loss of retail stores (Tower Records, etc) is also of concern. The removal of impulse or spontaneous buyingóis of concern. You walk around the store. You see something that catches your eye. You didnít even know it existed! This is discovery. This is walking around in a library or book shop. Itís been a while since I myself have been in either. The argument is not that internet shopping isnít convenient as hell. Or that Iím not lazy and fat. The question is whether the internet will lead to too much choice.


On an entirely different note, another concern is that too much dilution of artistic production will lead to less collective focusóand this will diminish the occurrence of mass spectacle. Like if the Catholics only had bunch of small churchesóand were never willing to put all the money into one big one like St. Peterís in Rome. Can you imagine! What would Tolstoy say of all this user generated content? He would rejoice and proclaim the art of the future is here, but I hesitate.


The Internet is also dangerous because you can totally get drunk and email your ex-girlfriend that you love her, when in fact, not only do you not love her, you donít even really like heróat all. Maybe you just think sheís hot. Or maybe you just think you think sheís hot. Hell maybe she is. Either way, you were lonely. And drunk. And you forgot to turn off your computer before starting. And it wasnít even a weekend? Dammit. You can also use the internet to buy a stock. Maybe three stocks, all of which are as determined to go bankrupt as I apparently am.


The one glaring exception to all of this is politics. I canít help but think the ability of video sites like YouTube to catch politicians saying what they actually think can only be a good thing. As someone who might vote (once you can do it from home), why would I not want this?



April 2007