Tuesday, April 27, 2010


“I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time. I always knew it would run out sooner or later. It couldn’t last, and now it’s running out. I don’t particularly care that it is and like the way things are going. The record age was just a blip. It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you’d be stuck with your whale blubber. Sorry mate – history’s moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it.”



  1. Anonymous10:38 AM

    if he's right and recorded music is whale blubber ... what can the gas possibly be?

  2. He's certainly not telling anyone.

    And I'm still trying to work it out!

  3. Anonymous1:42 PM

    i reckon he's getting at the concept of static, immutable recorded music eventually giving way to forms of generative (autonomic) music that the user can interact with via a device (e.g. an ipod) to change the course of the music http://www.generativemusic.com/... i guess the popularity of things like guitar hero/rock band in recent years hints that people in general have a desire to become "part" of the music listening experience in some way other than direct observation ... and i guess that with the increased ease and cheapness, over time, of creating music of all sonic possibilities in your own bedroom the chances are that people with allow the “computer” to do more and more of the compositional work for them too ... however i think the population as a whole needs to become more interested in the forms of music that can be created in such a manner which will much more sonically interesting/challenging ...I remember reading something by the composer Howard Goodall saying that the history of music has progressed sonically by the listeners becoming more an more accepting of different harmonies/intervals. Prior to there acceptance in popular music certain intervals would have been considered discordant and unpleasant to listen to … the tritone (the devils chord banned by the catholic church), the blue note … stuff like that ,,, basically as time has gone on people begin to accept and enjoy music which in the past would have been considered a discordant racket … for example there are no longer riots when the The rite of spring is perfomed … however I think this might be coming to an end in the mainstream. mainstream record labels catering only to utter and complete blandness seem to sell the best. The best selling album of the last decade was a James Blunt record and the top five contained two, yes two, Dido Albums ... the top five best selling albums of the 1970's included dark side of the moon and tubular bells, far more challenging than what is popular now .. it is unimaginable that an essentially ~45 minute instrumental track could have been one of the best selling albums of the last decade .. also it is interesting to note that the 1990's saw more and more compilation albums of music from the past decades in the best sellers (abba, maddonna ...), almost as if people were hankering after a little bit more until finally giving way to the blandness of those records found most popular in the 2000's. So I think that in the mainstream now, people have begun to buy safer/blander records rather than more sonically diverse challenging records. This is despite there being far more experimental/ different/interesting /challenging music (i.e. your great record label :) ) than there ever has been before …why this is happening I don’t know … why would anyone ever by a scouting for girls record?????!?!?
    So if Eno is getting at user-involved generative music taking over recorded music it could be a while as the mainstream continues to stagnate in it’s own mediocrity … in fact seems to look for ever more unchallenging forms of music. Of course we probably don’t want machines writing and performing all our music (or do we ...) but it is that interface between man and machine during compsotion that you find in the studio that needs to be taken into the world of the listner .. perhaps this could be the next paradigm shift required to kick start music again … like the synthesizer or electric guitar .. I don’t know … god that was a ramble but its fascinating all this stuff …

    Also an interesting article about computer generated classical music:


  4. Wow.

    Thanks for taking the time to write that. Interesting stuff!