The Future Of Squabbles Over Music By Nonmusicians

The opening panels were highly confrontational despite conciliatory gestures; fights erupted ten minutes into the discussion of how to sync up music biz interests, artist remuneration, and the adoption of music technologies. With the apparent shotgun approach of this conference’s ‘A&R’ process, we’re seeing panels built out of voices who are never going to agree with little else to do up there besides argue stubbornly. My feeling is that productive conversations are going on behind the scenes (indeed, I’ve had some while here so far, and I hope to have more of these), but that nothing productive is going on on the main stages. I think the problem is partly due to a lack of musician representation.

I have detailed notes for most of the panels I’ve attended so far (though the Auditorium at McGill has scarce power sources, so I have laptop battery-mandated lapses in them). I’ve got a LOT to say about the “What’s Wrong With Music” panel that went down yesterday, but so much to say that it deserves its own separate post.

I haven’t seen any Pop Montréal gigs yet, but I’ve got my eye on a few things in the programme. I do wish the coinciding music festival was not chok-a-blok indie rockers who stare at the floor (as I said to someone at the SOCAN cocktail party last night, if you’re going to stare at the floor, you’d better have a damned good delay pedal!). It would be more interesting (and enlightening) for FMC Summitgoers to be surrounded by a broadly construed Popular music conference – including diverse music from around the world, jazz, folk, classical…people’s music, y’know? I’m not knocking what PM does; it’s a good festival. however, it colours (or maybe the appropriate term is uncolours?) the coinciding FMC dialogue in a very particular way.

And while David Byrne’s presentation may have been lacklustre and scrambled, he’s totally spot on about this: making presentations is more difficult than singing.

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