I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend this year’s New Music Seminar and some of the key offerings of the seminar throughout the conference were these 18-minute “Intensives,” hosted by different industry figures, aiming to give poignant and memorable advice or opinions on a variety of topics.
Moses Avalon is a 30+ year veteran of the music industry who is currently regarded as “one of the top music business experts in the country.” Yesterday, he hosted an intensive titled, “Google Bubble,” which concentrated on lesser known facts surrounding the company’s relationship with users and related issues surrounding the “freemium model.” Avalon has experience that spans from recording and engineering to artist advocacy and authoring books on the business.
After the intensive, Mr. Avalon was kind enough to talk with me, and we discussed the presentation, his two featured books at the seminar, and his feelings on some general trends of the industry. The Q&A is transcribed below:
SoundCtrl – So your intensive on the Google Bubble seemed to me, to be a very realist based, possibly cynical point of view. For example, you had stated, ”If I had a Google phone, I’d…throw it in the garbage as quickly as possible. Do you want them tracking your every move?” How long have you felt this way about Google — particularly about how it affects musicians and the industry?
Moses Avalon – So this is to answer your first question. You just asked me if it was cynical. Someone once said, that cynicism is just reality with the volume turned up. No, I don’t think my point of view is cynical. Actually I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s optimistic. We are going to start seeing these large ISP’s competing to start paying for content and they’re going to need to go through some kind of regulation, which is going to protect our privacy. Will that put a damper on some aspects of the ‘Wild West,’ free association of the internet? Yes, it will but it’s a tradeoff every industry has to go through. Television went through this, music, radio…everyone goes through this.
[With regard to how long,] I always kind of had my eye on this subject but it really hit reality, when I recently bought a Galaxy Tab because I needed a smaller tablet…and when I typed in my email address, within less than half a second, it had populated my entire phonebook with names and email addresses of people I emailed years ago. And I thought it was kind of scary how quickly they could associate all the data from one account to the next -within seconds. So it was a little freaky. It knew a little too much about me too quickly and that’s when I started investigating exactly how all this works, that’s when I learned about the Department of Justice, what’s going on with them…I just consider it being a good consumer. You want to know about the products.