Putting The Music Business On Hold
October 31, 2019
There is a wise adage which states, “It’s a long road that knows no turning” and here I am writing to say that I see a turn in my road coming.
As those of you who were at our concerts this summer may recall, I have been contemplating putting my career on hold.
Once the final leg of my year-long Lost Souls Tour concludes in Québec, Canada on November 3rd, I will be taking an indefinite period of time away from my music.
In addition to spending more time on my personal and family life, I intend to lean against the threats posed by global warming and the harmful effects of technology.
With respect to technology, clearly I am not averse to it. I use it every day in the operations of my career and business and have witnessed its benefits across a range of disciplines.
At the same time, I’m only too keenly aware of some of the unintended consequences of this technological revolution. In the music business, we’ve seen an almost complete decimation of the ecosystem of professions, including the creative class. My little company also experienced the perils of ransomware this spring.
I am also deeply troubled by its adverse effects on children’s mental health, education and self-esteem, as well as by the disruption it brings to family life and children’s connection with nature.
I am alarmed by the unchecked proliferation of technology, as it has contributed to the erosion of democracies and the rise of fake news. It has also compromised our privacy, as a result of the misuse of personal data and surveillance capitalism.
I recently outlined these concerns in a speech I made in my home base to the Rotary Club of Stratford, entitled Facing the Music: Unintended Consequences of the Digital Age. You can hear it or read it here.
My overarching concern comes from the view that technologies have been allowed to proliferate in the absence of a truly democratic debate about their potential harms, not just their benefits. I worry that we have not learned the lessons of having adopted fossil fuels wholeheartedly a century ago only to learn decades later that they also come with great perils.
As a mother and as a citizen, it is hard to sit idly by. I genuinely believe that we as citizens have been called to action, particularly on these two vital fronts of technology and climate change. We must be prepared to make sacrifices if we are to be successful in dealing with them.
These concerns are not new for me. You may recall that in 2018 I took a stand and removed my profile from Facebook after revelations of its misuse of personal data. I did this fully cognizant of the potential negative consequences to me and the inconvenience to my 596,000 followers.
I am not afraid of controversial or challenging topics, as many of you know, and have already tackled issues related to copyright and privacy laws.
As for what comes next, at the very least it is my hope and intention to support the growing number of experts and leaders across many professional disciplines, including the tech industry itself, to bring about a greater public awareness of the perils of unfettered technology. I will be adding my voice to the call for our elected officials to move quickly to regulate the companies behind them.
As to precisely where this will take me, or for just how long, l cannot definitively say. Perhaps I’ll leave that to the fates for now.
I admit there are still so many creative directions I’d like to pursue and many more places to perform. I regret, for example, that we didn’t make it back during this Lost Souls Tour to the Atlantic & Western Canada, The United States, Portugal, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and points beyond.
There will likely be special invitations extended from time to time, which we may accept. If so, we’ll be sure to let you know and hopefully see some of you there.
Last night, after our rehearsal for this final leg of touring, the whole group was assembled for what we quietly hoped would not be our last supper. It was so gratifying to look down the table of 16 people – musicians, crew and my trusty assistant Mark. All of them have played an enormous role in this road travelled – a creative and operational comradery that has spanned more than three decades. This journey has seen many, many miles and very few bounds, only a few tears, and deeply memorable times.
A heartfelt thanks to all of you who have helped make this journey so meaningful for all of us.
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If you are primarily interested in any developments in my music, we promise to stay in touch. And of course, we always welcome your correspondence.