Words on World Music

In the midst of plenty — audio poverty

Sunday, January 18th, 2009


A conference next month in Berlin will discuss the conumdrum of audio poverty — how the situation has arisen where artists are not able to be make money from their work.

Audio Poverty will bring to the fore the situation of “Material impoverishment of artists and the decline of the music industry”.

Of all songs for sale in online stores in 2008, 85% weren’t sold a single time. Music has become a commodity that hardly any one is willing to pay for.

Music is currently undergoing a loss of value not only in economic terms, but also in ways that have an impact on the social and aesthetic structure of musical life, affecting forms of publication, the culture of listening, musical discourse, and the music itself. Music has become a commodity, delivered from all parts of the world. Audio Poverty will explore the consequences of these changes: what is the relationship of the musician to the disappearing market? What is the significance of the individuation of listening for music’s social importance? What does it mean when the music critic is silent? And does musical poverty have a sound? Audio Poverty explores the link between music and poverty, from impoverished musical material to the starving artist. Audio Poverty crosses genres in both global and historical terms.

It will be interesting to see what kind of answers they come up with.

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