Re: MUSIC: The Next 25 Years
Sat, 6 Nov 1999 10:42:35 EST

In a message dated 99-11-01 19:17:05 EST, (Aaron Davidson) wrote:

> P.S. While where on the topic of Music & the Next 25 years, lets throw out
> some speculation on the trends we will see in music over the next 25 years.

I think there will be three significant trends in music over the next 25 years, all of which one can already see in one stage of development or another. The first will be a continuation of the syncretistic style of mixing musical styles and "mining" traditional and "world music" sources for pop music applications we've seen during the last few decades. This will be driven by both 1) the never-ending desire of First World music promoters for novelty and 2) the increasingly global nature of a more and more wired pop culture scene.

The second trend will be an increasingly diverse and "flat" musical scene: With the development of the Web and technologies like MP3 and sophisticated and inexpensive tools for digital music creation and production, the very hierarchical, unified music industry will become increasingly fragmented, as more and more creators of music reach wider and more diverse audiences. At the same time, there will be a trend toward "balkanization" of musical tastes (as with other cultural tastes) as highly targeted music sources like net radio and cable music channels (like the ones I listen to in my study here) deliver very narrowly-focused programs tailored to specific musical tastes. How these two somewhat contradictory trends will interact will be an interesting phenomenon to watch (or listen to).

Finally, the truly "new" development during this time will be the impact of human-machine composing and performing collaborations and, then, purely AI-driven musical creation. Even with today's $500 synthesizers one can have fun with some primitive man-machine collaborations as the machine works with you in playing back rhythm and chord tracks. More sophisticated "music generators" have already been demonstrated in "the lab" are not far behind for consumer level use. Beyond this will be true AI music composition that interacts with human mood and gesture, as is already seen in the interactive musical tracks for some simulation games.

Ultimately, I see a true multi-media human-machine collaboration in virtual environments where auditory (including musical) and visual phenomena (and eventually direct emotional phenomena) are part of a seamless human-machine artistic environment - in which composition, performance and "consumption" of art are indistinguishable. This promises a truly new artistic world that will have an impact on culture equivalent in its importance to the humanization of all of the arts during the Renaissance period.

      Greg Burch     <>----<>
      Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                           Thomas Huxley