The first time I saw Netscape was in the spring of ’94 on a friends 486. I shortly thereafter acquired a Pentium 75 ($5000!!!) with a 750 meg hard drive which is what a CD holds. My bandmates and I were stoked but somewhat bummed that 15 uncompressed songs or so would fill up the entire drive. It wasn’t until 2005 that I acquired all the gear required to record multitrack at home but in those short ten years the music industry was ravaged by downloading. We now live in a world where most of the pie goes to the lucky few who win the popularity lottery on YouTube or Mysapce. Everyone else has to deek it out in a vicious game of elbowing. There isn’t an indie band out there that doesn’t want to make it big and leave the gear hauling and shitty couches and fifth rate flea bag hotels behind. Those who say otherwise are lying! Anyways best of luck to them all as CD sales have collapsed and though iTunes keeps the flame burning it flickers precariously in the winds of change for the worst… Long gone are the passion, the anguish, the critique, the self-immolation of the music Cobain, Grohl and Novoselic unleashed on the world. Music has since shifted from a force capable of spearheading social, political and economic change to nothing more than a mere commodity consumed as a social fashion accessory at its best to a porn-like, fetishistic obsession at its worst.
Netscape and Mosaic went viral in 94/95. It really was the threshold of pre-Web and post-Web for most people which also marks a very important shift for the music industry. In a sense Cobain’s passing was the death knell of the music industry’s business model. Nirvana is widely recognized to have “saved” rock and roll but in essence Kurt wasn’t interested in being the son of Rock and so took it down with him to the grave. Let us pray that one day he may be resuscitated to save us from our musical sins.