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Enough Manifesto (Part 6)

‘To push into other audiences.’

Know your enemyViva La Revolucion

In the final part of the Enough Records Manifesto series I’m pushing into what, to some, is the most contentious point of them all – ‘to push into other audiences’. As a general rule this one should garner fairly obvious approval – no one, no matter how in love with the intricacies and eccentricities of tiny hobbyist corners would deny at least some desire to spread the word of good music to ever more people and on that level this part of the manifesto doesn’t bear up to much scrutiny. That said though there are arguments brewing around it, not because more people listening can ever be considered a bad thing but because the source of those new listeners can always draw a line between two major schools of thought within the free music movement.

On the one hand you have those who look at the scene and, finding it to be a very good one, want it to exist in isolation from the rest of the cultural world – not isolated from new input and influences but very definitely not attempting to usurp existing models, the most notable of which is the commercial mainstream. For those in this camp the main message seems to be that what we’re doing is good, undeniably so, so why frame it in any relation to the opposition? Why even call the mainstream model ‘opposition’ in the first place when their existence and ours are so obviously juxtaposed? Even if business led systems garner more listeners and more influence in most peoples cultural lives our mere presense as an alternative, albeit an understated one, proves that there are other ways and that, vastly succesful or not, those other ways are always valid in their isolation. It’s an approach which I can understand and it’s certainly the more comfortable option as far as most aspects of what we do goes; it allows us to negate the demands of competition and focus solely on the music without worrying about the wider context it takes within society. We don’t have to proselytize, promote or compare ourselves to the work being pumped out by those whose main motivation is profit and through that we don’t have to compromise an inch in search of wider acceptance. That most people beyond our still very insular world will never hear much of the music which we love is a side note, in time those who want to hear something new will, perhaps, come across it on their own or by the actions of a self-sustaining movement without our having to move into enemy territory to spread the word. And it’s a belief which will always hold sway within the movement because, as ever, no one ideology can dictate the progress of such an incredibly diverse community of musicians, listeners, writers and miscellanious others. But – and there’s always a but – there’s at least one other school of thought working away on the issue. And it’s the school that I belong to. Read more…

Enough Manifesto (Part 5)

‘To push into other models.’

There are half a dozen different ways to look at today’s point from the Enough Records Manifesto, whether you head in the direction of expanding netaudio into other structures and models of distribution, sharing and community; to create new sound structures under the aegis of absolute freedom offered by the basic concepts of what we do or, as I myself am probably most enthusiastic about, taking the free model that we’ve created and extending it beyond the boundaries of music and into, well, anything and everything.

It’s easy to see why music stands at the forefront of the free and open culture movements – after all the technology which makes these new structures viable is the same technology which has opened up the creative process to a vast swathe of people who, previously, faced the choice of either investing endless amounts of money into the equipment and training required to put together even the most rudimentary of sounds or accepting the limitations of traditional instrumentalism, learning to use one tool at a time and, more often than not, defining your musical evolution by that initial path. The latter of course still applies as even the technology we have today can’t offer absolute mastery over sound even if it makes the process of learning vastly more egalitarian and open. At any rate, the musical revolution of home producing hit just at the right time to make this vast scene of ours an inevitability – a sense of timing which hasn’t extended to other arts for whom digital mediums, especially in their free or open form, remain something of an odd fit. Read more…