Although I don’t agree with everything in it, this long key note address given by veteran musician and producer Steve Albini at the Face the Music conference in Sydney a couple of months back is essential listening for anyone concerned with the future of creative practice. In it, Albini argues that the pre-internet music industry was a system designed to enrich those working within it, and did nothing for bands or fans. The new world, by contrast, has eviscerated the old industry but enabled a thriving scene for all kinds of musical niches. As an argument it certainly makes an interesting counterpoint to Jaron Lanier’s contention that “free” is hollowing out the middle class generally and in the creative community especially. But I’ll have more to say about that soon.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, the Guardian have posted a transcript here. Although I wouldn’t normally advocate browsing the comments thread, in this case I think there are some interesting ideas being kicked around amid the drek.

Oh, and Happy New Year from both of us!