So we love this “Masters of the Internet” track around MTP–which answers the musical question, is Google a commoditizer? The track by Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog is also a nice bookend from Bonfire of the Vanities to the watershed interview in the Guardian by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke where Yorke sums up Radiohead’s realizations about what David Lowery calls the “New Boss” reality:
“[Big Tech] have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”
“Masters of the Internet” is also a cool play on Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Nixonian “Gang of Four” reference to the Internet oligarchs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. But–no monopoly there says the FTC.
Here’s Marc’s critique of brand-sponsored culture (aka “free culture”) from SPIN.com:
A number of people have asked us what’s up with Masters of the Internet. Do we hate our fans? Are we Luddites? Well, no and no. Here’s what we think: We don’t really expect much from asking people who are downloading stuff for free to voluntaristically pay up- although, yeah, we could use that dollar right about now, and we support Trichordist’s Principles for an Ethical and Sustainable Internet.
We don’t know what the ultimate solution is- but we know it isn’t the impoverishment of musicians and defunding music. And we know it isn’t pretending that no-one is being hurt.
Corporations are making huge profits from the ads on ‘free’ sites, from selling the hard and software that make illegal downloading possible. They need to give back a portion of their billions to the people who do the work: hey, we love our tech toys too, but an empty i-Pod is just a crappy paper-weight. Giving us back part of the value we create would make a real FREE culture possible- one where fans get what they need, AND creative community workers get paid. Bread and Roses, baby!
If you’re in NYC on May 5 (next Sunday), Ceramic Dog will celebrate the release of Your Turn as part of the Undead Music Festival at (Le) Poisson Rouge, downbeat 8 pm. These cats deserve your support!