Protein is, in its own words, ‘an insight platform that keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends, behaviours and thinking’.
And so I have to come to Shoreditch to join a discussion on the future of music listening.
The Protein audience comprises 18-35 year old early adopter consumers and I have to confess I feel rather analogue as everyone taps away on iphones, ipads, tablets – and I use my trusty pen and paper.
There are three speakers tonight and the general consensus is that music has become less precious – it’s a commodity (though very few people own it any more), and that listening is now of secondary importance. Music is just something in the background now.
According to Lexxx, co-developer of Bronze Format, ‘a lot of people make fast-paced, perhaps bad quality music that’s disposable. But that’s punker than punk. It’s not three chords, it’s an iphone app. But it all depends on criteria. It’s often NOT about artistic statement but what’s tapping into the criteria of the times’.
(True – see the abundant jizzwad of erotic fiction out in the wake of ‘Fifty Shades’).
‘People are making music who don’t have a grand artistic desire’.
BEATS BY DRE
Indeed. Alex Robinson of The Other Hand / Stones Throw label comments that the biggest selling artist in the last year is Dr Dre. But he’s only released two songs and they’ve just come out. So it ‘aint from his music. No. It’s from his headphones – Beats By Dre – specifically designed to make badly compressed bad quality files sound fantastic.
He notes that 1.2 billion listens out of total of 4 billion internet music listens is through YouTube. Music has become of secondary importance to the image.
Musician Gwilym Gold is nervous at first, reading verbatim from his moleskin (not tablet! – a fellow analogue, you cry! Not as such, no.)
‘So far’ he says, ‘the only thing that’s changed is the quality of music’, but Bronze Format is changing the experience of listening to music, and even the POINT of listening to recorded material.
So what is Bronze?
‘It’s a Framework for music’, explains Gold, ‘to create music in non-static format- there is never the same listen twice. There are always different blends, components and lengths each time’.
This is driven by the constant decrease in listener ownership of music. To some degree, you wonder whether it would be frustrating to hear a great version and then realise you’ll never hear it again. While Lexxx says that there may be a feature on future versions to combat this, the original intention was always that each time you listen, it would be like a live version of recorded material.
What do you think is the future of music listening? Have you tried Bronze? Let us know.
And don’t forget to check back for part two.