Powderfinger’s Darren Middleton today gave the keynote speech at the Australian Audio and AV Show 2014

‘Technology has meant a great deal to audiophiles,’ he said. ‘Allowing them to transition from mono to stereo, from vinyl to CD and now to wireless, and delivering sound quality that no-one could have imagined. But it’s also been good for musicians, because we’ve gone from when musicians sang into microphones, and played instruments, and everything had to be captured live, in a single take, to recorded sound, then to multitrack sound, then to the introduction of synthesisers and reverb, then to emulators and samplers, so now musicians can access any instrument they like. I can now be proficient on an instrument I’ve never heard of.’

‘Technology has also enabled musicians to bypass the old gatekeepers of the music world, the record labels. Now bands can record in their own homes, press their own CDs, or make their music available on their own websites for download, anywhere around the world. This technology has also been good for music lovers, because it’s meant the death of the shit album… the one with two good tracks and then a load of fillers. In the old days you had to pay to buy that album. Now you can just pay for the two good tracks. People won’t pay for filler –– that’s now what you buy at Bunnings.’

‘Technology has meant that more people are listening to more music, and they can listen to it from anywhere in the world, sounding better than it’s ever sounded before. Thanks to the internet, I can now tune into a radio station half-way around the world and hear what they’re playing. But that accessibility is now also a liability for musicians, because our real problem now is sustainability, by ensuring people pay for what they’re listening to, yet people download from such a multiplicity of sources – Bit Torrent and so on – that it’s impossible to police and how many of us will pay for something we’ve consumed for free? I think music should be treated like cake. You wouldn’t sit down in a shop and eat a cake then run out without paying, because your parents taught you that that would be the wrong thing to do. So maybe we should be the parents of future music buyers and teach our children that music is like cake… you should pay for what you consume.’

Powderfinger disbanded in 2010, after which Middleton released a solo LP (Translations) in November 2013, featuring guest artists including Nic Cester (Jet), Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger), Pete Murray, Paul Dempsey (Something for Kate), Clare Bowditch and Amy Findlay (Stonefield). Darren's official website is HERE

Darren Middleton’s keynote speech, edited and transcribed excerpts of which are printed above, was sponsored by Convoy International, which is exhibiting a wide range of equipment from B&W, Bluesound, JBL, Classe Audio, Harman/Kardon, Monster Cable and Sol Republic in the Stock Room on the Lower Ground level of Melbourne’s Rialto International Hotel, as part of the Australian Audio and AV Show 2014.

For more information, contact Convoy International