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Live streams, rock venues and melodies from black holes: the future of music.

Three things came across my screen this week that made me think about the future of music.  The first was a mention in a music blog that there are about 20,000 livestreams a week around the world.  The second was the post by the owners of the legendary South Bay LA music venue Saint Rocke that is was up for sale.  The third was from the Call the Musician blog of the guitar-player/psychiatrist Bruce Victor  describing the singing going on in the black holes in the Perseus cluster of galaxies, which NASA has discovered  sing in B-flat,  57 octaves below middle C,  and in the black hole of cluster M87  which sings notes as deep as 59 octaves below middle C – and that they’ve been warbling for the past two billion years.

The news about Saint Rocke came straight from the owners – the four guys who launched it in 2008 (if you seriously want to buy a famous rock club go to https://bit.ly/2CkVRUs).  The 20,000 livestream figure was not references, so I don’t know if it is accurate, but if you count every garage band and middle school cover artist broadcasting from their Facebook pages or Instagram accounts, I can believe it.  Victor did reference the assertion that black holes sing and even included a NASA shot of the sound waves, so I not only believe it, but now have a new resect for black holes, which I used to think were just….black holes.

black holes sing. NASA

Black hole sound. NASA/NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

While the heavenly songs that last for billions of years, give me hope that there will always be music, somewhere the juxtaposition of the growing world of livestreams and closing one of LA’s top clubs, managed by partners with deep experience is scary.  Almost every artist I interview on my radio show want to play for real people. The feedback from audiences is their sustenance, more so than comments on a livestream scroll.  But that may be gone by the beginning next year. NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association, reports that 90% of their 2000-member clubs are facing the same fate as Saint Rocke.

save our stagesAll of this, except maybe the singing black holes, will be examined, dissected, argued over and hopefully illuminated at the AMP Music Summit Summer 2020, livestreamed (of course) by NPR affiliate radio station and musical tastemaker KCRW in Santa Monica Wednesday July 29. Billed as a gathering of artists, executives, and thought leaders, its long roster of speakers, includes people like Trueheart creative agency founder Amy Malin,  Billboard’s Senior Correspondent Dave Brooks,  xBk venue and  Station 1 Records founder Tobi Parks, Billboard Dance Director Katie Bain, and CAA agent Joe Hadley . Check it out and register at  AMPmusicsummit.com.

If you can’t imagine a world in which New York or LA or Chicago or Denver, or Austin have no live music and your only choice is a bewildering array of livestreams,  you can sign NIVA’s letter to Congress in support of the RESTART Act which will support venues until they open again :  https://www.saveourstages.com/.  As much as I love livestreams and recognize them as a new art form, I want a world in which we have both live and livestreamed music. Otherwise, I may have to spend a lot time on the NASA website listening to very, very  bass notes from black holes.

Patrick O’Heffernan





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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (471 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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