You click on I-tunes–only to discover that all the channels that used to play music have disappeared. You return to your computer files where you’d saved mp3’s of your favorite songs, but notice that all the music files are gone!
Horror of horrors!
In a desperate attempt to hear sounds other than the sound of your own breathing and your fingers tapping on the computer keyboard, you double-click on Firefox, open up the Youtube url and search for your favorite songs.
Nothing. Gone. No more sound on Youtube. Too many copyright violations. And the owners of the sounds have taken back their music, never to share it again…
So you turn on a good, old-fashioned radio. Surely, that’ll work. Uh…
No signal. Not even static. Nothing.
OMG (as they type across the blogosphere,) this can’t be happening!
You run outside to your car. (It’s still sitting unstolen, unvandalized in your lonely driveway.) You put the key in the ignition and start up the car. While it’s running, you turn on the radio dial. Tuner. Volume. Up. Down. And all around. WTF!? Nothing?!
Nothing. No sound at all. No static. Not even a pre-recorded simulation of a human announcer’s canned Jack FM monotonic announcement to let you know that the music is gone. Sure, “they” are playing what they want at Jack FM, but not what you want. What you want doesn’t matter, so don’t even think about it. But even Jack FM remains strangely silent.
And no one available to even explain why? How?
Now, wait a minute. You’ve got CDs. Really good ones too. Some of them are retro. They can’t take that away from you because it’s old school. That CD player always works no matter what. They didn’t make that to break.
You run back into your house and go through your CD collection. It’s all still there. Ah-h-h. You breathe a sigh of relief. Your favorite bands are ready to play for you old school style. Whew! You place that favorite Justin Bieber CD (ha! ha!) into your CD player, click the “play” button, sit back and relax to…
Okay, you clearly made the wrong choice there. You thought you were being funny trying to play a Justin Bieber CD. Tempting fate, eh? Of course, that doesn’t work. How about some good, old-fashioned Rage Against the Machine? Slide that into the CD player, baby! And let’s see what happens.
Okay, okay. Don’t panic. Do you still have that old record player and those old Beatles albums your mother left you? What? Gone? Okay, okay. Everything’s going to be okay. There are lots of ways to listen to music these days. Lots.
You’ve got an app on your smart phone, don’t you? Click on that app to listen to your songs on your cell phone. Except… it won’t open. The app won’t open.
The app’s icon sits there gawking at you from the face of your cell phone. Its silence mocks you, laughs in your face!:
“Ha! Ha! I’m the music app that does nothing! The music app without the music! Ha! Ha! Wanna hear something different? Something original? You’ll hear nothing at all! Nothing!!!”
Irritated, you attempt to delete the app from your cell phone, but the insolent thing won’t go away! It just continues to sit there on the face of your phone, glaring up at you, like your smart phone’s last revenge!
“Oh, you think you’re smart, eh? Think you can laugh at me? I don’t need you!”
You look through the list of apps in the app store but none are for music listening. What the bleep happened? Where are all the music apps? Everything that was music related that you’d saved on your phone is gone, just like the mp3s you’d had on your computer.
Gone. Vanished. As if it had never existed!
The music is gone.
In despair, you attempt a little self entertainment. You start to hum a little tune.
“I’ll sing to myself. I’ll create my own music, write my own songs,” you think. But much to your surprise, your vocal cords don’t vibrate. Out of your mouth comes nothing.
You’ve lost your voice.
Voiceless. Unheard from ever again.
What? What’s that, you say? Eh? Can’t hear you! Can’t hear?!
So now you’ve lost your hearing too!?
And it’s the end of sound, the end of music. Sure, it’ll rest in your memory, for a while. That part of you will remain untouched, uncensored. The memory of music doesn’t make an audible sound. But eventually, over a period of time, you’ll forget the original lyrics, the melodies, the harmonies, forget what the songs were supposed to sound like. And the music (dear, sweet music!) that gave you so much joy will be lost and gone forever. Perhaps the word itself “music” will delete itself from your vocabulary, and you’ll forget the art of sound once existed.
This is what we all are facing. In this era of “original music doesn’t sell” when musicians have trouble finding places to play and getting airplay for their songs, the art of music and musicianship is dying. Before there was a Rage Against the Machine, before there was a… ehem… Justin Bieber, there was a singer or guitar player whom no one had ever heard of, sitting alone in a room, fiddling around with original songs they were creating. The Biebers and RATMs of this world start out unknown and aspiring. They need places to perform live and places to play their recorded music so that the public can be the judge as to whether or not they are successful musicians and songwriters. So that audiences (not music industry execs) can discover them and decide whether or not their music is worth being heard.
Without the opportunity to be heard, the music will die. It will. In fact, much great music already has.
It costs money to purchase a musical instrument and a lot of time and money to learn to play it well. Some aspiring musicians can’t pass through that hurdle. Sadly, they don’t have the money for the instruments, the needed accessories and lessons. But even those of us who do find a way to afford the instrument and the education then face another obstacle: the inability to present our music to the masses.
We, the undiscovered creative musicians and songwriters of the world are not asking for a “free ride” or a “handout.” We’re simply asking for a level playing field. (In fact, some of us aren’t asking, but are demanding!) We’re asking for a musical playing field that cares only about the quality of the music, not “who you know” or “who knows whom.”
Imagine a world in which good musicianship, talent, dedication and passion for the art of music are encouraged. Imagine a world in which everyone–rich, poor, male, female, black, white, purple, orange, etc.–has a chance to create good music and to present it to the world for all to hear!
Can you hear it? Can you hear the music now? I think it’s possible. Let’s bring it back!