Thursday, October 15, 2020

Article: The Hidden Costs of Streaming Music

An important article. 

"‘The environmental cost of music is now greater than at any time during recorded music’s previous eras.’ He supports that claim with a chart of his own devising, using data culled from various sources, which suggests that, in 2016, streaming and downloading music generated around a hundred and ninety-four million kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions—some forty million more than the emissions associated with all music formats in 2000. Given the unprecedented reliance on streaming media during the coronavirus pandemic, the figure for 2020 will probably be even greater.

The ostensibly frictionless nature of online listening has other hidden or overlooked costs. Exploitative regimes of labor enable the production of smartphone and computer components. Conditions at Foxconn factories in China have long been notorious; recent reports suggest that the brutally abused Uighur minority has been pressed into the production of Apple devices. Child laborers are involved in the mining of cobalt, which is used in iPhone batteries. Spotify, the dominant streaming service, needs huge quantities of energy to power its servers. No less problematic are the streaming services’ own exploitative practices, including their notoriously stingy royalty payments to working musicians. Not long ago, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s C.E.O., announced, ‘The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans.’ In other words, to make a living as a musician, you need to claw desperately for attention at every waking hour."


“Musically, we may need to question our expectations of infinite access and infinite storage,” he writes. Our demand that all of musical history should be available at the touch of a finger has become gluttonous. It may seem a harmless form of consumer desire, but it leaves real scars on the face of the Earth.

Devine holds out hope for a shift in consciousness, similar to the one that has taken place in our relationship with food. When we listen to music, we may ask ourselves: Under what conditions was a particular recording made? How equitable is the process by which it has reached us? Who is being paid? How are they being treated? And—most pressing—how much music do we really need? Perhaps, if we have less of it, it may matter to us more.

(Via The Hidden Costs of Streaming Music | The New Yorker.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Jamila Woods just released a new song video for SULA hardcover, which was inspired by the late Toni Morrison and her novel Sula.  Sufjan Stevens has finally released a full proper album to much acclaim, and this is a heavy new video from that album.  Kevin Morby continues to hit all the right notes, including in this video for Wander feat. his wife Katie Crutchfield (of the band Waxahatchee).


"Paris-based Mathematic Studio produced a lovely animation for Bob Marley's timeless 'Redemption Song.' Directed by Octave Marsal and Théo de Gueltzl, the work draws heavily on imagery and iconography surrounding Ras Tafari, aka Haile Selassie, as well as the pan-African and diaspora political movements."

(Via Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" gets a beautiful hand-animated music video / Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Disclosure wisely added Channel Tres (who I’ve loved on here before) to their new album and who also stars in the accompanying video for Lavender.  YELLE releases her new video for J’veux un chien, and all I have to say is OTTO!  Petit Biscuit just dropped crisp new pop single and video for Drivin’ Thru The Night.

Bonus:  I’ve always rooted for Jennifer Lopez, and I’m tickled to see her rock it in this new video with Maluma.

Article: Why Disco Is Taking Over Pop, One Feel-Good Banger At A Time

I couldn’t be happier about it...

"Disco originated in the 1970s at a time of economic crisis. The post-World War II economic boom had come to an end and the United States began to endure a cycle of depression that included an oil crisis, a stock market crash, and a recession that caused high unemployment and simultaneously high inflation. At the end of the previous decade, the Civil Rights movement was disrupted by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Deputy Chairman of Black Panther Party Fred Hampton. Mass shootings and labor strikes abounded. With uncomplicated messages of feeling good (i.e., ‘Good Times’ by Chic, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ by the Bee Gees) and empowerment, like Gloria Gaynor’s perennial ‘I Will Survive,’ hefty funk basslines, eclectic percussion via cowbell and woodblock, and four-on-the-floor rhythms, disco was the music of liberation when marginalized, working people — in particular for queer, Black, Hispanic and Latinx, and Italian-American people — needed it badly.

It’s hard not to see parallels between the disco era and the political and cultural shifts happening right now in America. A public health crisis and subsequent recession — one started just barely 10 years after the last — plus a reinvigorated movement for racial justice, fueled by demands of significant societal restructuring in the real service of long overdue equality, make for a heavy load to bear, especially if you’re unemployed or otherwise struggling.

‘When shit’s going bad, people like to indulge in happier music,’ says Ian Kirkpatrick, the producer of ‘Don’t Start Now,’ and Lipa’s 2018 hit ‘New Rules.’ ‘These songs are so uplifting. This is a way of escaping.’"

(Via Why Disco Is Taking Over Pop, One Feel-Good Banger At A Time.)