Rhea Myers

Promises To Keep

I read “Promises To Keep”.

It’s a fact-tastic read, crammed with data and diagrams, and a very well argued thesis, with the two places where the argument doesn’t follow from the examples sticking out like sore thumbs (these are minor parts of the argument, I mention this simply to emphasize how coherent the rest of the book is).

I still have a problem with ACSes, although that is one less problem than I had before reading the book. The balance of privacy and accuracy that the system must strike seems much more plausible from Fisher’s description, but someone like me who listens to old Art & Language songs, fantastically obscure electronica and people with cellos and digital delays won’t be reflected by any system that tries to be representative by sampling rather than by monitoring the entire network.

The problem is that an ACS is still phrased in terms of “incentivisation” and of replacing lost revenue. Comparisons to a “pizza right” aside, I think this argument needs recasting positively and progressively rather than in its current reformist mode. Present it to the record companies as compensation by all means, but let’s see if it can work and take it forward as the first genuinely democratic form of patronage.