Grimes Addresses Backlash over Her Comments That Live Music Is Becoming "Obsolete"
Zola Jesus, Devon Welsh and d'Eon have already weighed in on her latest comments
She responded specifically to a Zola Jesus tweet that called her "the voice of silicon fascist privilege." She praised Zola Jesus' Twitter thread for making "hella interesting points," and offered a ten-part thread of her own.
She argued that technology has always changed the way that people create and listen to music, and that "technology is democratizing music," resulting in a "incredible creative explosion largely driven by accessible music technologies." She acknowledged that he use of her word "obsolete" wasn't quite accurate, but questioned why she was being called fascist.
There has already been some backlash. Former Majical Cloudz singer Devon Welsh criticized her recent Apple ad campaign, while producer d'Eon (a onetime Grimes collaborator) questioned her claim that technology has democratized music, writing, "We're still dependent on massive companies to pluck us out of obscurity."
Zola Jesus has also gotten back into the fray with another Twitter thread, calling Grimes "cynical about art and people's connections to it" and "entitled and ungrateful" in the way she is embracing AI technology over human connection. She also clarified her comments about Grimes' "fascist privilege."
Read the whole thing below — first Grimes' thread, and then the responses below that.
1/ I agree w ZJ- let's not call this a girl fight. She's making hella interesting points here. Let's go in! https://t.co/aK9lW7lwVY— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
2/ technology has always changed the way we make/ consume music and it's not going to stop here. Where could it go and what are the potential positive outcomes? We can't prevent bad outcomes if we don't start envisioning good outcomes.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
3/ technology is democratizing music! Ppl r making stunning art on laptops with no music education. more people making music = more art in the world = net positive. I'd argue we're in the midst of an incredible creative explosion largely driven by accessible music technologies.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
4/ Not all art will be good but that's what art is. What matters is that people are experimenting.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
5/ and that goes for performance aspect of music. Theres no question that a live human performer is one of the most moving things we can experience (I've been to hundreds if not thousands of live shows).— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
6/ But that doesn't mean we shouldn't engage in thought experiments of what could happen in the future.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
7/ to clear things up, I am entirely supported by the business I run.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
The vast majority of my income comes from tour and it's been a challenge being off the road.
8/ but I love thinking about the future and curious about how new technologies that can reduce the environmental cost of touring, for example.— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
I would like clarity on the use of the term fascist tho haha— ༺GRIM ≡ﾟS༻ (@Grimezsz) November 23, 2019
i appreciate a good thought experiment, but an unbalanced one can come with consequences. @Grimezsz— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
the lack of nuance and empathy in which you discussed these possible futures on that podcast interview felt like they were coming from someone who has nothing to lose, or doesn't need to readily interact with possible negative outcomes.— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
don't even get me started on "meditation is boring." (i disagree!) it seems to me that you're cynical about art and people's connections to it but instead of refusing to double down and engage with humanity harder,— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
you're making the choice to step back and let the more negative aspects of our society and this negative future lead your connection (ai avatar so you don't have to actually talk to your fans.) it seems entitled and ungrateful,— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
and something that can only be done by someone who doesn't really want to see a better future with more honest human connection? i say this because all these dangerous narratives make me want to do the opposite of what you seem to want to do about it!— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
which is why i feel like even though bringing up these hypotheticals is a good start, the only alternative you give us is to all become dj's. and i didn't train for 10 years to become an opera singer just so i could press fucking play. not everyone wants to be a dj.— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
and not everyone makes art just because it will make them money or popular. art does not have to be inextricably linked to wealth and power like it seems you're focusing on. because for musicians like me, it's not.— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
i totally agree that AI can and has been used as a tool to make art in beautiful ways. i also agree it's important to discuss what possible futures are. but art is not always bound to tech innovation. otherwise, why would i train to be an opera singer when microphones exist?— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
oh and @Grimezsz - silicon fascist privilege is the perspective of someone who is silo'd in one percenter neoliberal big tech world they refuse to see how their evangelism of technology is coming from a place of privilege and power. i.e. technofascism for short!— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
not necessarily saying you are that, because i don't know you and i give the benefit of the doubt that a lot of your dialogue might be role play, but that interview had hard whiffs of technofascism— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
technofascism is a legitimate threat in this country and we are already having to fight the unelected and unchecked power of big tech's impact on our liberties https://t.co/sTfZRwFj5t— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
cambridge analytica. amazon hosting ICE servers. etc...— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
y'all acting like futurism hasn't been fascism before pic.twitter.com/N6VSrzuvg6— ZJ (@ZOLAJESUS) November 23, 2019
In summer 2018 there was a giant Apple "Behind the Mac" billboard featuring Grimes that loomed over Mile-End in Montreal, the neighborhood where our shared music community used to be located— Devon Welsh | On Tour in USA! (@devonwelsh) November 23, 2019
Also this is context for listening to musings about the end of live music & AI supremacy https://t.co/g5mWMu2AeR
you are certainly right about the ability to create music being more accessible. i think the problem now tho is that the ability to make a decent living from that music is not. anyone can put out music but we're still dependent on massive companies to pluck us out of obscurity https://t.co/iyP3VHQlec— d'Eon (@ddddddeon) November 23, 2019
when ppl like you, me and devon started out there were still small blogs who could truly jumpstart people's careers. what i see since then though is an agglomeration of power at the top; obscure artists now have to go viral on insta before a major label A&R even looks at them— d'Eon (@ddddddeon) November 23, 2019
now i'm not too worried about artificial intelligence per se but a lot of these issues musicians face are made worse by things like machine learning employed for example by spotify to curate people's playlists. don't make lo fi hip hop to study/relax to? no exposure, no plays— d'Eon (@ddddddeon) November 23, 2019
if all the streaming money is going to people putting old town road on repeat, and all the live music revenue is going to either legacy artists, or newly-plucked superstars with predatory 360 deals that give the major labels most of that $, that's not democratization— d'Eon (@ddddddeon) November 23, 2019