IMS Engage: Jaron Lanier ‘IN CONVERSATION” with Matthew Adell

6 June 2013

In a deep and animated discussion, legendary technologist Jaron Lanier and Beatport CEO Matthew Adell discussed how technical innovation and disruption have been both a benefit and burden for musicians, as well as the greater music industry.

Adell asked Lanier, "Have musicians been moved out of a livelihood through technology?" "It's a matter of dignity for musicians," Lanier responded. "If you have to sing for your supper for every meal, you're always one run of bad luck away from losing it totally."
Lanier explains the differences between a Gig-based Economy (artists working for day-to-day income) and a wealth-based economy (working to sustain prolonged income streams)."In the 90s, you didn't have to get millions of hits on YouTube. You could make more money, there was more diversity then." On the brighter side, Lanier pointed out that the improvement in accessibility of tools is creating empathy between musicians and fans like never before.

"Computers are not created equal," Adell mentioned. "Tech, privacy, and data access are the industry's biggest evil." Lanier added: "Whoever is close to the big computer (Google, Microsoft, Apple) concentrates all the wealth and power; civilization can't run that way." Adell also spilled some numbers about Beatport, signaling that they get over 22,000 new tracks per week.