Earlier today, I gave one of my students a CD of a number tracks from my various music ensembles (at her request). Her immediate response (after thanking me) was to ask me if I would like the CD–which was simply a burn of live tracks–back.
Her rationale was that she would be putting it in her Ipod (after which she told me how many thousands of tunes she has digitally–after the addition of mine)–the implication of which was that she would no longer need a copy of the burned CD I gave her.
So many of us in any of the music industries have this outdated notion that live or even hard-copy recordings of live events have some meaning and yet there is a younger generation that is soooo used to having media accessible in ways we are just not used to having. We shouldn’t be so very surprised that the newer generations are much more used to accessing music in ways most of us are just not used to accessing. And I certainly don’t consider myself a luddite, and yet, the query regarding whether or not I would like the CD back just made next to no sense to me.
While arts organizations struggle to get a bigger piece of the ever shrinking pie of live performance (or even recorded performance) media, there’s a whole new generation that is content with just accessing our work digitally, in tiny compressed audio files that are so easily accessible through the internet.
It shouldn’t be surprising that online participation of the arts is leading the way (according to the 2008 NEA SPPA survey) over and above the actual attendance at live events (and even recorded ones)!