Faster Louder: 10 Things We Learnt at Face the Music 2014
1. Steve Albini h8s copyright, Prince
During his keynote address, Shellac frontman and iconic producer Steve Albini had some rather unflattering things to say about our androgynous pop-funk overlord. Scoffing at the narcissism of labels and big ticket artists who use the courts to try to control the digital dissemination of their work, Albini warned against uploading that cute little video of your kid dancing to a Prince song. If you do, he cautioned, “a purple dwarf in ass-less chaps will come along and slap an injunction on you … Did I offend the little guy? Fuck him. His music is poison…”
2. The music industry is thriving as labels disappear
As a guy who’s defined himself through opposition to the “exploitative” major label system, it wasn’t hard to guess what Steve Albini’s take would be on the garroting of that system at the hands of piracy and music streaming services. The music scene today is “terrific”, he said, it’s healthier than ever before. Songs have gone from being “rare and commodified to free and ubiquitous”, and for music lovers, the internet has become “a hall of fetishes” with “whatever you could wish to fuck or be fucked by” – and “a comfortable mattress” on which to do it. We have a system that works for bands looking for exposure and a shot at success, as well as fans who now “can listen only to music that they are ecstatic about all the time”.