Wandering around downtown Berkeley recently, I took the snap above of the marquee at a local folk music venue. At first it made me chuckle — typical heavy handed nostalgic hippie stuff that I’m all too used to in my home town. “Music builds community” can feel like a pretty redundant statement to make sometimes, a truism hardly worth uttering. But wading through the diverse, bubbling crowd mingling on the street in between sets, it quickly became a genuine reminder of music’s power to bring people together, to commune over the mutual appreciation of art and creativity.
Another great reminder — from the other end of the spectrum — was stumbling upon Jonathan Sterne + Nancy Baym’s recently published Manifesto for Music Technologies. Itself a collaborative document, these two academics have put forth a really compelling initial framework for working towards a responsible future of music, music technology, and all of the associated communities and subcultures that those encapsulate. This manifesto will hopefully spearhead the unique, interdisciplinary moment Sterne sees taking shape in academia, where a growing mass of humanists / social scientists and engineers / computer scientists (two traditionally secluded groups) see the benefit in working together across intellectual and institutional boundaries.
Music technologies make worlds. Let us make better worlds. Let music technology do good, serve public interest, foster belonging, justice, collaboration and sharing, enable greater access to positive musical experiences and personal connections, and create durable objects and practices.
Music does indeed build community, and right now, perhaps more than ever, we have an opportunity as a community to shape the future of the art form we all cherish. Go sign the manifesto.
We call on companies to produce music technologies that matter, that foster meaningful communities, that consider musical culture and user bases as much more than cash registers.
We believe DreamCollabo can be a fun, meaningful, and integral part of the future of music culture taking shape before our eyes. Come get down with us; we’re putting the power in your hands. You are not a cash register — you are a catalyst for creativity.