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Dave Stewart on The Future World

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Dave Stewart:  Hi.  I'm David Allen\r\nStewart, and I'm a cultural engineer. \r\n

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Topic:  The\r\nInternet. 

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Dave Stewart:  Well, the Internet right about 12 years ago was a revelation when I\r\ndiscovered what it did.  And my\r\nimagination leapt into, like, what it possibly could do, and would do.  And right about 1995, '96 maybe, I\r\ncreated my own sort of version of a YouTube channel called Sly Fi, the Sly Fi Network, I called it. \r\nAnd I was running around telling everybody, "Oh, this is it.  Look, we can all have our own T.V.\r\nchannels." 

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And I made all these crazy\r\nprograms with Damian Hernst and The Edge, Bono, and Deepak Chopra, and I had\r\nthem up, you know, but the trouble was, it was only about, you know, 100 people\r\ncould see them because they had Broadband, and they loved them, they were going\r\n"hurray!  This is the new\r\nway!  It's the future world,"\r\nand all that stuff, but not enough sustainability to keep it going.  And then I was-- I think I was probably\r\nthe first person to put out a total digital release album, which I also called Sly\r\nFi.  And the company that I did it with, they were very forward\r\nthinking and they realized everybody was going to want to just download stuff\r\nand so I said, "Okay, let's not release this as a physical product."  This is back in 1996 or something.

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Dave Stewart:  Well, let's rewind back to 1982, you know, where Sweet Dreams came out and we were using technology then in a\r\nway.  I drove with this friend of\r\nmine about 200 miles to this place where a guy had made a prototype of a drum\r\ncomputer, a little screen, and you could actually-- it was black and white. It\r\nlooked like a little Siloscope, you know, and you could actually program a beat\r\ninto it.  Now, this was a\r\nrevelation and I was so excited about the idea of this. 

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But, again, being sort of\r\nsomebody who has a sort of vision about, "Oh, what would that lead\r\nto?  And what would that lead\r\nto," I realized straight away, okay, everything is going to change and\r\npeople are going to make records in their bedroom, or wherever they want, because\r\nthey don't need to have these great big studios anymore to make a certain kind\r\nof music, obviously for orchestras and stuff, and bands playing loud.  And I found that every exciting.  I did a lot of interviews at the time,\r\nand it spawned a lot of young artists going, "Oh, great, yeah, I\r\nunderstand I can go in my bedroom and I can write a song."

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But the long tale of the\r\nartist is something that's yet to really be unleashed because it took ages for\r\nfilm companies and record labels to realize, you know, that piece of film of Bob\r\nDylan talking to Allen Ginsberg, stoned, you know, poetry, is actually a valuable\r\nthing that lots of Dylan fans would love. \r\nBut CBS was like, "What the hell are we going to do with\r\nthis?"  Now, all artists\r\nhave-- and creators and filmmakers and scriptwriters, and everybody, have a big\r\nproblem that everybody is trying to work out about what's the transactional\r\nmodel, what's the revenue streams, how do we get transparency, what about if we\r\ngive this stuff and it happens like the last time where some great big sort of\r\ncorporate company goes, "Oh, yes, we own all this and whatever else you do\r\nforever and ever, even if you go insane. \r\nPlease sign here." 

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And what's exciting about--\r\ngoing back to your question about how it's changed and how it's changed the way\r\nyou think about what you're doing, is I see a world of transparency coming that\r\nis going to be impossible to stop. \r\nIt's like a juggernaut, you know, people want to know what's going on.

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And there's no reason why\r\nthey shouldn't because, now, with cell phone technology and Internet, and so\r\nforth, you should be able to say, "Oh, I see, I buy this, and this person\r\ngets paid that, and that person gets paid that, and the person who created it\r\ngets paid that, and the person who…" \r\n

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Dave Stewart:   I was really a student of a\r\nguy called Conny Plank, who was a German producer who worked with Craftwork in\r\nCannes and he was already far ahead of anybody, you know, he produced Devo and\r\nbands like this and he taught me really what recording is all about, and he\r\nalso taught me things to do, even before looping, you know, or sampling.  He was creating these big tape loops\r\nand playing with everything like a collage. 

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He really let me understand\r\nthat, "Listen, whatever anybody says the rules are, there are no\r\nrules.  And you can just do\r\nwhatever you want and if it sounds fantastic to you, then you do it."  So he was, like, a really big influence\r\nand a kind of mentor at the time.

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Dave Stewart: At the moment, there's a wonderful Indian composer called\r\nA R Raman, now he's sold\r\nabout 300 million cassettes in India, and you can imagine, you know, there's a\r\nlot of bootlegging goes on in India, so he scored hundreds of movies and he's\r\nstill only about, I don't know, 38 or 40 years old.  And I'm sending files backwards and forwards to him to India\r\nand we're collaborating on something. \r\nThen I'm collaborating via a chap in Hong Kong, Hans Ebert, looking for a Chinese girl to do a duet with, to be\r\nin my video, which he'll film against green screen, and I'll put her in a\r\ncomplete out of context song with me. 


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I'm doing all these things\r\nall day long as part of my sort of creative inquisitive nature, and I have no\r\nrhyme nor reason why and how this would come out in a commercial way, like,\r\n"Oh, yes, and now I'm going to make a pop video like this."  It's just part of something. 

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Dave Stewart on the mobilizing forces of technology.


This series brought to you by Dell and digitalnomads.com

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