4. Does the sky need a composer or musician?

Do we still need musicians? Or composers? Why do we need an audience? Is there no direct distribution to your audience? Has electronic or computer music become a logical or natural part of contemporary music?


The role of the maker
To an increasing extent, all we hear around us nowadays is electronic music – in all sorts of media, in the public domain, in clubs and on stage. Take the success of the Dutch dance industry, for example. At the same time, technology makes it possible to make your own electronic music and tracks – with minimal knowledge of music and technology. You don’t even need to have learned how to play an instrument. You can compose something on your iPad in a trice and share it with your friends a few seconds later on Soundcloud. Everyone has become a composer and musician! And we can close down the music academies. What right have you still got to call yourself a composer? Is it necessary to call yourself that at all? And what audience is there then? Only consumers (e.g. the dancing crowds at Sensation White, etc.)? Or is everyone a prosumer nowadays? And what is the role of ‘performance’ in electronic music? Maybe that is precisely what gives you the opportunity (playing an instrument) to distinguish yourself from all those other ‘composers’. But what are the essential elements of the ‘performance of electronic music’? Is this discussion limited to electronic music anyway, or is it just a discussion about music in general?


Digital music
Furthermore, there is an enormous amount of music archived on the internet. So why should you still want to go to a live concert? What is it that draws an audience to a live performance that they can’t get at home on their laptop? Is it a musician after all? Or an author/transmitter? Sharing your love of music doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the concert hall. It is actually even easier to share your love for the work online. And why do we still need stages and festivals if all music can be digitally distributed? Maybe we are moving towards a world in which stages and festivals will exist in the form of social networks and are no longer a physical place where people come together. What effect will this have on our understanding and experience of music? How will it affect the practice of music-making and performing? And what is the role of new technologies in this process?


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