Although change is a natural and constant state of affairs for humanity and for the universe at large, there are many signs that we are currently witnessing a global change of unusually large proportions. Global megatrends such as digitisation, climate change and tensions in global politics have brought humanity face to face with new and huge issues.
Special Feature 2/2019 looks at a number of manifestations of this change from the perspective of music and musicians.
Recent barometers gauging future outlook indicate that Finns across the board see both threats and opportunities in global megatrends, and the music industry is no exception. The global music market brings new opportunities but also tougher competition. The accelerating advance of digitisation is likewise seen as both good and bad. The value gap continues to cause concern, but at the same time digitisation is widely seen as boosting availability and flexibility for both sheet music and recordings.
We cannot yet know how technological, political or legislative developments in the future will influence music itself and its forms or how a work of music is even defined. At some point in the future the digitisation of sheet music will probably begin to have an influence on the content of music too.
Musicians, music authors and other music professionals increasingly emphasise the importance of collaboration and networking when discussing future opportunities. Collaboration generates new types of activity and sometimes quite surprising artworks.
This Special Feature also includes FMQ’s first-ever podcast. It is about a network catering to artists and musicians that is constantly expanding. In this case, growth is not necessarily an exclusively positive thing, because the network in question is the Artist at Risk residency scheme, whose purpose is to help artists who for political reasons cannot freely express themselves. While it is excellent that such a network can offer a safe working environment for an increasing number of musicians, it is also sad that such residencies are needed at all, let alone that demand for them is growing.
Music professionals are well acquainted with climate angst, and there is now debate going on as to what concrete measures individual musicians and music consumers can take to combat this change. But can music drive change? Singing and music-making will not save our ecosystem, but musicians and their art can affect how we live in our world.
Throughout history, periods of uncertainty have prompted people to resort to art and spirituality to search for answers. Amidst the upheavals of our time, art is excellently placed to once again both reflect the world and to change it. Artists must be guaranteed freedom of expression and a reasonable compensation for their work in order for music and music makers to continue being active agents in processes of change.
As choreographer Tero Saarinen says in his interview in this feature, turning points in our lives are opportunities for discovery but that the flip side of this is that they also cause us to forget things. Perhaps humanity, riding today’s wave of visual communications, would do well to learn again the art of listening.
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi