Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Steve Reich's Myspace page

Myspace pages generally look so amateur-ish that it's always a bit of a surprise to discover that a major cultural figure like Steve Reich is a member with a fleshed-out page. It's obvious that musicians shouldn't avoid the site if they want to have a large-as-possible internet presence anymore than they should resist selling their music on iTunes or Amazon, but they are yielding substantial control over how they present themselves on the net by agreeing to fill out the forms that constitute Myspace's boxy design. Total participation with the layout reveals the power of the medium over the individual, I suppose. 
At the same time, for all its flaws, Myspace remains only one of many venues for his work on the net, and the net but one medium for his work in the world. So on balance, Reich doesn't really lose much by participating in Myspace, and stands to gain a lot. Besides, he maintains his own home on the internet, where people can see how he wishes to present himself and his work--to the extent that he cares at all about presentation. And a willingness to participate in multiple venues of course only extends his influence and exposure. 
I guess this is all internet 101 stuff, and seeing Steve Reich on Myspace isn't much different from seeing his CD next to a no-name's at the record store; nonetheless, it's still slightly odd to see him working within the constraints of Myspace, which tells us he has 17,381 friends, and that Horst Bronkow, for instance, comments, "i've heard the music for 18 musicians and i still like it very much! thanks a lot! best wishes!" (Good to know!)
I do think it's pretty cool that Reich's publisher, who administers his page, has shared some good selections for visitors to hear.