The Trouble with Music isn't anything like most books about music. Those other books start by assuming that today's music world looked just the same yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. Mat Callahan understands that today's music world is a product of the past, struggling to bear the future. His story begins with reexamining what all music fundamentally shares, then sets about showing the ways in which those fundamentals have been distorted, all the while insisting we can free the music—and ourselves—to achieve a future worth celebrating. This isn't just a theory: Callahan, a working musician, crams his book with as much detail as opinion-and there's a LOT of ideas.
"Making music is a process as old as the human species, which means that if the music's in trouble because humanity as a whole is in trouble. The Trouble with Music speaks to those troubles and it maps a way out. It's invaluable." —Dave Marsh, Rock and Rap Confidential
There is a crisis facing music. The signs are everywhere, from the saturation of public space by tuneful trivia to the digital downloading controversy. Quantity has replaced quality. The number of units sold is now the criteria by which music is judged, and high-gloss, mass-produced, low-content music is everywhere. You can't shop, eat, ride a bus, or see a movie without hearing it, as each day you are inundated with enticements to buy it. Like the replacement of essential nutriment by junk food, music lovers are expected to surrender their critical faculties and consume the phony McMusic that can be more effectively controlled and profitably sold than the genuine article.
Mat Callahan has been a composer, musician (most famously with The Looters, who literally invented "World Music"), engineer, and producer for 40 years. He is the founder of the legendary San Francisco club/performance space/recording studio Klub Kommotion. Herein, he unravels and elucidates the crises facing music as well as its liberatory potential. The Trouble With Music includes discussions of: technology and its effects on music making and listening; superabundance and the absence of critical thought; the development of radio; music criticism; copyright; the digital domain and the Internet; labor and music making; and the special relationships among words, dance, politics, and music.
A large segment of the general public seeks a relationship to music (which provides an exceptional profit for those who own and control it.) Callahan provides a means of evaluating music and a powerful critique of the music industry. Whether you whistle at work, sing in the shower, or conduct concertos, this book will challenge and enhance how you think about music.
Includes an introduction by Boff Whalley, guitarist/songwriter/singer for Chumbawamba.
"Yes—let's break the grip of Stars and Hits. Music could change the world. Read this book." —Pete Seeger