The Trouble with Music

By Mat Callahan (AK Press)

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The Trouble with Music

Diatribe against music industry bursts with all the excitement and passion of a chemistry textbook

Mat Callahan never misses an opportunity

to remind readers of his passion for music, but you’re not likely to pick it up in the dry, cheerless manner in which he writes about it. His argument is that “anti-music”—music created solely for the purpose of making money, be it ad jingles, piped-in office music or Top 40 radio—is the enemy to original expression, creative thought, pure enjoyment of music and, I kid you not, “true freedom.” Using a plethora of historical examples, many of which are not concerned with music specifically, he at times seems to be consciously trying to suck the fun out of the subject. To be fair, the chapters on technology and music, the history of radio, the Internet’s impact on the industry are all interesting, but in the end, Callahan seems to be pompously disregarding the very listeners he’s trying to save.