For the Music Manufacturers, a Subdued Trade Show; For Nashville, Badly-Needed Relief

Nashville locals Jeremy Dickens (logickal) and Tony Youngblood were on-site this month for CDM to cover the Nashville’s NAMM show, the summer installment of the major music manufacturer trade show. The Summer 2010 edition of the North American Music Merchants trade show (Summer NAMM to most of us) has come and gone. For three days in humid downtown Nashville, members of the gear manufacturing, distribution, and retailing businesses converged upon the convention center to see the latest new merchandise being brought to market. This year, however, they did so against the backdrop of a city whose economy faces an uncertain …

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NAMM Music Industry Meeting in Nashville Takes on Special Meaning

Nashville’s skyline, ringed in smoke from a fireworks show, in 2008. Photo (CC-BY) Jim Davenport. Nashville is a special place for music, and just as any natural disaster in the world hits musical communities, so, too, has recent flooding taken its toll on this American city. The NAMM summer convention, a top gathering for the musical instruments industry, will go ahead as planned in Nashville on the 18th through the 20th of this month. For their part, industry group NAMM says that they’ll pump some $13 million into the local economy. Other efforts: The MusiCares flood relief fund, targeting aid …

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Musical Instrument Loss and Recovery After the Nashville Flood

Photo courtesy Guitar Center. They describe the scene: “A shattered Kay acoustic guitar (Circa late 1950’s or early 1960’s) sits on the floor of Soundcheck Nashville, waiting to be assessed for damage.” Wherever they occur in the world, disasters’ material impact can be nearly as emotionally and personally challenging as loss of life. Floods in Nashville, Tennessee have illustrated this vividly, as irreplaceable instruments at facilities like the legendary Soundcheck Nashville have born the brunt of the rising flood waters. For their part, Soundcheck has been running a flood blog covering recovery and equipment load out. National Public Radio’s All …

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Flight Patterns Visualization, Revisited in a Volcanic Age

Aaron Koblin’s 2006 Flight Patterns was one of the works that helped people to understand how data visualization, in motion, could matter – and why Processing was a powerful tool for making data visual. That, in turn, landed the project everywhere from Wired Magazine to the Museum of Modern Art, and helped raise the visibility of other data visualization work, as well. But while the various iterations of Flight Patterns were aesthetically beautiful and revealed some of the logic of airplane traffic and flight approaches, there was no immediate, real, everyday application. What a difference a volcano makes. Countless traveler …

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Worldwide Busking Event Turns Street Music into School-Building Power for Zambia

Could busking – street music performance – be a tool for social change? It’s an idea I’ve heard artists mull before. Here’s one opportunity to do just that next month, in April, in support of building badly-needed school facilities in southern Zambia. And yes, digital musicians can participate, thanks to terrific, affordable, battery-powered amplification. I do hope this could launch a discussion, though, on how to organize this kind of action, and how to make busking work for good. Ben Matthews, founder of the charity, writes: LearnAsOne,a UK-based charity dedicated to funding schools in Africa, announces the launch of its …

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HAITI 2010 Monome Community Compilation + Other Efforts to Help in Haiti

Album artwork by Pau Cabruja (www.pauk.org) . Artists and creators around the world have been moved by the suffering of Haitians in the wake of last week’s earthquake. There are ways we can help, like giving to relief organizations to give them the capacity to respond wherever needed. The next crisis could be halfway across the world or in our own neighborhood. The monome community is about more than just the button-grid, open-source controller with which they work. They’re an example of the kind of collective spirit that musicians, digital or otherwise, can share internationally (see the map of these …

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Congress Restores Arts Funding, Drops Arts Stimulus Ban, After Public Outcry

Photo CC Brian Talbot. Here in the US, Congressional Democrats have reversed not one but both bad decisions on the role of the arts in the economic stimulus package. Provisions that would have blocked any stimulus funds from reaching arts centers, museums, and theaters have been dropped. (Golf courses and casinos are still in the ban. Maybe this time, someone read the actual legislation.) And the US$50 million (out of some $800 billion) that would go to the National Endowment for the Arts, dropped from a Senate version, has been restored to the bill. It appears both of those changes …

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Democrats, Republicans Join to Ban Arts Stimulus, Declare Arts Worker Jobs Not “Real”

Fore? Photo: Dan Perry. Folks, we have a lot of work ahead of us. To wrap up the thread I started, the plot in US politics, in the space of a few short weeks, has gone something like this: 1. A new Administration could bring new vision to making the arts part of the economy. 2. Arts spending is wasteful. 3. Any spending on anything should be specifically prohibited from reaching the arts, as that would be wasteful and evil, and the arts are the best symbol of Waste itself. I live on Wall Street (technically, on the corner of …

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Artists’ Jobs Aren’t Jobs? Will the Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Well, someone has pork on the brain, anyway. Photo: Jason Brackins. While I’m discussing the potential to take new directions in the arts and technology worldwide, and about ways in which creative technology can help repair the global economy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make one sobering concession: To many policy makers, the “arts” don’t count as the economy. If you’re employed as an artist, (and by extension in creative fields), you’re not a worker. Um… thanks? Never mind that in the US alone, nearly 6 million people are employed in the arts – or that that figure itself …

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