Music is not burdened with weight like it used to. One million records is replaced with one million downloads. That number, once representing an overbearing physicality, is now intangible. Lightness achieved by technology was something Italo Calvino pondered in a lecture from his Six Memos for the Next Millennium:
“The second industrial revolution doesn’t prevent us, as the first did, with overwhelming images of rolling mills or molten steel,but rather with bits of information that flow, as electrical impulses, through circuits. We still have machines of steel, but they now obey bits that are weightless.”
We still have music, but now it obeys bits that are weightless. Ironically enough, the impact of lightness is seismic. From torrenting to remix culture, Spotify to the mp3, all of the major and controversial focal points of music today are due in part to music’s lightness.
Every concern about the future of music must stem from this quality.