Discover more from The Seat of Loss
The Summer of Love and the Holy Fair
My new piece about the history of the American music festival for The New Inquiry.
In addition to this newsletter, I also write a regular column about music and technology for The New Inquiry called “Streaming Services.” The New Inquiry is a non-profit responsible for publishing a lot of the very best criticism I’ve read anywhere in recent memory. It’s an incredible honor to work with them and to write for their readership. If you’re not familiar, I hope you take this opportunity to dip into the archives and see what they’re about. Subscriptions are only two dollars a month, and they recently launched a newsletter called “Sunday Reading” that publishes every weekend.
Today’s edition of Streaming Services focuses on the American concert business. Subjects covered include the roots of the outdoor music festival in the Second Great Awakening of the eighteen hundreds, a fateful meeting with Marshall McLuhan, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mega-promoters like Live Nation and AEG. If you’ve been enjoying The Seat of Loss, I imagine you will also enjoy this. Past installments of Streaming Services have looked at the phenomenon of catalog outperforming new releases on streaming and the relationship between the mail-order record clubs of the physical music era and streaming’s subscription model.
Ayesha Siddiqi, the editor-in-chief of The New Inquiry, also writes an advice column on Substack that I find to be one of the most consistently rewarding publications on this platform. Managing editor Charlie Markbreiter released his debut novella last year. I love working with Ayesha and Charlie, and I think anything they write is worth reading. They are two of the smartest, coolest posters I am aware of.
As far as The Seat Of Loss goes, I am finishing up a big piece that should be going up here soon. It is nominally about “Heart On My Sleeve,” the “AI” Drake song that raised a lot of questions about copyright and the future of the record business when it went viral last month, but covers a lot of relevant historical context that for some reason hasn’t come up in the accompanying discourse. I’m looking forward to seeing what others make of my conclusions. Until then, thanks for being a subscriber!