Whether you’re an established artist aiming for the top of the Billboard Hot 100 or a newcomer hoping to make a mark, the question of music’s future in the digital era looms large.
Cincinnati-raised, Brooklyn-based musician Ann Driscoll ponders the complicated issue on “Canary’s Corpse,” which Billboard is premiering today. Taken from Pushpins — her new EP full of musings that meld the personal and political — “Canary’s Corpse” combines delicate flourishes, an entrancing melody and a muscular bass line to create an immediately arresting tune. It’s also the rare musical parody that functions as a cohesive piece of music on its own.
“‘Canary’s Corpse’ is a critique of the advertising-supported digital economy, which I do not think is sustainable or ethical from my perspective as both an artist and a consumer,” Driscoll explains of the song. “My goal was to create a parody of the kind of music you hear in online ads which often consists of the same predictable, formulaic instrumentation: glockenspiel, ukulele, ‘cute’ female vocals, hand-claps. I wanted this song to more or less sound like the background music to a toilet paper ad.
“I see the music industry as the canary in the coal mine, and all of the legal setbacks (such as the DOJ’s recent disastrous decision against ASCAP and BMI and in favor of Google/YouTube) and revenue declines it faces as a warning that the entire apparatus of ad-supported business models bodes poorly for other industries as well. Rather than a coal mine, the dangerous environment in my analogy is a data mine in which the content we create only exists for the purpose of collecting consumer data from which companies can sell targeted advertising. It would be the ultimate irony if this song were licensed for an advertisement. I would find that poetic and a validation of the song’s message.”
Driscoll will celebrate the July 16 release of Pushpins with a performance and listening party at The Creamery in Brooklyn. The evening will feature performances from special guests Zac Taylor (Zac Taylor Show, American Authors) and Ben Wigler (Arizona, Walk-Ins Welcome).