Last night, on my friend Jay‘s recommendation, I downloaded Radiohead’s “video album” In Rainbows – From the Basement from the iTunes store. It’s fantastic, with the band playing most of the album live in a basement studio. And it made me realize that with CD sales dropping, the future of music is for musicians to really connect with fans again, to show how music is made and what kind of passion goes into its creation and performance.
Simply listening to music doesn’t bring us face to face with the people who make it. Going to live shows is somewhat better, although it can often be hard to make a connection in a crowded sweaty club full of drunk people, or, in the case of a more successful band like Radiohead, in a huge stadium sitting quietly in an overpriced plastic seat.
Stripping the music down in some way, and allowing us to get closer, really helps to make the musicians human again, and the music feels much more immediate when it’s being played live in an intimate setting.
I noticed this trend taking hold recently when I began to download the wonderful HD video files from Soft City Lights, sometimes from bands I either didn’t know or previously didn’t like. The Black Cab Sessions is another favourite, with musicians performing live and acoustic in the back of a London taxicab.
The Radiohead album is the first time I’ve actually paid for music video online, but I suspect that it won’t be the last.