So I was writing my previous post and searching for the thing that linked the beginning of it to the end, I did finally realise something. In this new model of keeping things obscure and of only letting a few friends in under your own personal velvet rope – we are becoming patrons again. That is to say that each of us becomes the personal patron for our selection of music – we choose and enjoy it for what it says about us – how it reflects on our individuality and what we want it to say about us to other people. We don’t commission the work itself like the Popes and Kings of the Renaissance but we do commission our own selections and make our own collections. And of course where we are friends with bands or in bands ourselves then maybe we influence what is recorded too. It is a natural return to the authentic response to the virus of music. It has tremendous power because by nature, the connection that you have with the music in this model is one of passionate involvement. In His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman, he characterises the people of one of his worlds as living with their daemons publicly visible. Their daemons are like their alter egos, their true personalities. Children’s daemons continually change shape until adolescence when they settle on one particular form. As a metaphor for our musical allegiances this is powerful. Perhaps for some people once they become adult their musical tastes ossify, become stuck in one place, become only one daemon. But the kind of involvement in music I’m describing here as a Patron, your musical daemon changes continually throughout life – but the key thing is that you have one. The traditional recorded music industry of the last 30 years produced music that had been severed from their daemons and made appealing to mass markets by sheer weight of media exposure. In the model of obscurity, the knowledge of what your music is and how it is part of you – is precisely why you only want to share it with a few close friends. And of course, the more you prevent people from gaining access – the more attractive that access becomes to more people. So at some point that boils over into popularity, mass access – at which you move on to new tastes. But the work of creating value by creating scarcity has been done.
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