Damon Krukowski :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

In his book The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World, Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi casts a widescreen lens on the digital landscape, in search of the answer to the question "What elements of the analog world should we hang onto as we navigate the digital?"

He began writing about the subject with an article for Pitchfork in 2012, where he broke down the royalty rates of popular streaming services. But with his book and accompanying podcast, Ways of Hearing, Krukowski cracks the subject wide open, examining it from scientific, technological, sociological, and emotional angles. It's not a screed against progress; rather, it's an insightful and beautifully written investigation of music's true value. In a field of constant disruption, Krukowski holds up what might be worth preserving from the analog age, and how the "noise" of context adds to our understanding of, and connection to, the "signal" source of music itself.

Last month, before the winter break, Krukowski joined Aquarium Drunkard on the phone from Massachusetts to explore the radical possibilities of streaming music, the role of nostalgia in his writing, and the importance of the fight for Net Neutrality. Our conversation, edited and condensed, follows.

Aquarium Drunkard: Congrats on a great read. I picked up my copy at an independent bookstore, driving home from my job at an independent record store. So the questions you’re grappling with -- about what we might be losing as our culture shifts around us -- those are my kind of questions. In addition to purchasing music, I do stream, but this is not an “anti-streaming” book so much as it is a book asking some tough questions about how we stream. But let’s push that aside for a second and establish: What is your favorite thing about streaming?

Damon Krukowski: I use streaming a lot, too. I feel that all these ways of sharing information are useful and have their place in our lives...so long as we keep them open and accessible enough that users can determine how they place them in their lives, I think that they’re all positive. What is scary about streaming to me is not the medium [itself] but the corporate control of it. It’s becoming so centrally-controlled by giant corporations. I mean, the size of Apple, the size of the competition at companies like Spotify, it’s mind-boggling.

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