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I've given you all and now I'm nothing
by Joe Steinhardt

2014 I've given you all and now I'm nothing.

2014 you broke my heart. You threatened the neutrality of the Internet, endangering the promise of a level playing field between big and small, mainstream and alternative, rich and poor.

2014 you gave me hope. You opened up dialogue on representation of women in our music scene; you introduced me to new voices in these struggles, new bands providing me with hope. But there's still a long way to go to correct this gross imbalance.

2014 this is quite serious. Racial imbalance in our music scene is large. There was valuable dialogue about the role of people of color in our music scene, but the numbers of people of color in bands, behind the microphone, and behind the scenes are still low.

2014 are you going to let our emotional life be run by Vice Media? Alternative media continues to struggle, alternative venues continue to shut their doors, alternative labels and artists continue to flounder. All while corporately managed versions, that cater to the same audiences as their struggling alternative, flourish. Something is broken here.

2014 we are worshiping false idols. Do you really think Taylor Swift is fighting Spotify for us?

2014 is anybody out there? Music is part of the struggle, so where is it now when we really need it? Why are our so many artists still writing songs about nothing? People are struggling today and maybe our artists should be singing for them instead of themselves.

2014 alternative culture is on life support. It is conventional wisdom now that you cannot make a career as an independent musician or label owner. Would the most important alternative voices of the past be able to do what they did if they had to do it today? Like Ted Hope, I too am afraid of a future where challenging artists will not be able to "develop a body of work, growing along the way." A future with no alternative.

2014 you are closing in on me. The mainstream is circling in like sharks, ready to feed on the drowning alternative. As the debate over Spotify and digital music is framed as how much a fair cost per play should be, we ignore the important questions about who will control the future of music. A debate over the cost-per-digital-stream implies that once settled, the system will work. We saw what a world looked like where a Big Three media companies controlled the music industry, and we are facing down a future where a Big Three tech companies will control that same industry.

It occurs to me that I am 2014.

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