Things that make you go hmmm... 5Qs Friday with DJ Spooky

Q: What do you believe is the most influential trend changing the music industry today?

A: At this point online music has so far outstripped any previous model of business. Apple alone had over 25 billion apps downloaded over the last 2 years - which is probably more than all albums ever sold, ever. Mobile media is making people rethink their relationship to fixed format media. I think that the most influential trend changing the music industry is the App. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Q: If you could change one thing in todays music industry to make it better, what would that be?

A: Two words: Artist literacy. Too many artists are only remotely aware of the many many many rights they ignore when dealing with everything from record labels to taxes. I would like to see more aware artists at every level.

Q: The United States is the only industrialized nation without a Ministry of Culture, yet culture is one of the country’s greatest exports. What are your thoughts about that?

A: One could easily argue that there’s a correlation between regulation, poverty, and quality of music - then you’d look at Brazil as a stunning success! The US has so many paradoxes I don’t quite know where to start. Celebrate the paradox and solve the way it works in such a breathtakingly un-equal fashion. 

Q: There are a lot of business models floating around for recorded music. Which one do you think makes most sense?

A: We see it all the time as people exchange all aspects of modern life across media without the regimen of “permissions” that copyright made an essential component of life in the industrial and now post industrial world. Copyright law needs to be utterly rethought out. Free culture is always more robust. I’ll just leave it at that. The business model is this: we live in an era of total information overload, there is no such thing as information overload, just filter failure. Let’s see what business will come out of that paradox. 

Q: Who is your favorite artist now?

A: A visionary like Gilberto Gil or Ryuichi Sakamoto would be a tie for my favorite artist. With a three way run-off between Chuck D and Yoko Ono to add spice. But yeah for current artists—hmmm…. The search algorithm is the artist of the moment.


Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DK Spooky, is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum and The Wire amongst others. Miller’s deep interest in reggae and dub has resulted in a series of compilations, remixes and collections of material from the vaults of the legendary Jamaican label, Trojan Records. Miller is currently a contributing editor to C-Theory and the Arts Editor for Origin Magazine. He regularly plays festivals across the globe using his own iPad software. His most recent venture, The Book of Ice, spans his many talents and includes the use of language, sounds, visuals and science. Download an excerpt here. DJ Spooky will present “Making Music” at Rethink Music Monday, April 23rd at 11am.