BY Anu Ahola
The digital revolution of the third millennium has offered us more and more new ways of accessing and listening to music. The borders between genres have, meanwhile, got lower and lower, and completely new genres are appearing on the musical scene all the time. This trend is sorely testing both artists and those distributing their music. How to satisfy new and changing demands, and to tempt new audiences while still holding on to the old?
The answer seems increasingly to be collaboration: while listeners are sharing their music and their experiences in the social media, artists and distributors are also networking and pooling their knowhow as non-aligned units or in collectives. New working models may, therefore, be expected to emerge in the wake of the resulting synergies.
For the artist, the new climate demands not only musical mastery but also a more open mind, greater flexibility, and interactive skills. A first-rate example of a new-generation contemporary artist is Pekka Kuusisto, interviewed in this issue. A multi-virtuoso with no respect for generic borders, he also contributes, through what he does, to debate in society. His success seems to derive not only from his musical talent but also to a very great degree from a personal philosophy that focuses first and foremost on – people.
As listening habits change, and more and more listeners seem prepared to pay less and less for their music, it is up to the legislation to ensure that artists can still earn a living by making music. Because for the artist, some things have not changed; making music, be it an opera or game music, still takes time, and the artist must be paid for this time.
The music media can, ideally, help the listener to separate the wheat from the chaff in the vast cyberspace harvest. They should at the same time remind both listeners and themselves that every choice carries a responsibility, and that includes the decision to click “share”.