Gold Motel
(Greta Morgan)

May 2010
Every month (more or less), the Fingertips Q&A sends five questions about the state of music in the digital age to one actual, working musician. Way too much time and space is taken up online by pundits, writers, and other sorts of talking (writing) heads who think they know where the music industry is headed. I'd much rather hear the thoughts and feelings of the people creating and performing the music.

This month, the Q&A talks to Greta Morgan, front woman for the Chicago-based band Gold Motel. The band's song "Don't Send the Searchlights" was featured in February on Fingertips. Previously in the Hush Sounds from 2005 to 2008, Morgan assembled the five-piece Gold Motel in 2009. The band's self-released, self-titled debut EP, came out in December; their first full length is due in June.

Q: Now that we've been living with digital downloads for the better part of a decade, what would you say you like best about MP3s? And what don't you like?

A: I love the instantaneous nature of the MP3. When I hear a song at a party or a concert, I own it within minutes. It used to be that when someone wanted a record, they'd have to walk to the store and spend their hard earned cash on it, then listen to the album until the vinyl wore thin. In modern times, I can hear a song, love it, digest it, and move on within a few days--a much quicker turnover time between beloved songs. There are more choices, which is a blessing because it's a challenging, ear-opening experience, but also a curse because I need to dig through more to find the good material.

Q: There's a lot of talk these days that says that music fans will soon not need to own the music they like any longer, since they will be able to simply listen to everything on demand when they want to. How do you feel about this?

A: I'm prepared to give away music eventually, but that means that concert tickets will probably become more expensive. When fans aren't supporting a band financially, the band needs to make up the finances in other ways. Many musicians who were only interested in music for fame and wealth will probably fall by the wayside, which is a blessing for those of us in music for the long haul and for long-term connection with fans.

Q: How has your life as a musician been affected--or not--by the existence of music blogs?

A: I've found some great music through music blogs and appreciate the hints I've taken. At the same time, the art of music writing is depreciating in value because thousands of people can act as "experts" on a musical subject. Again, there's a blessing of more material and greater ease in finding the material, but the curse of having to dig harder to find the material I truly love.

Q: Do you believe the full-length album is still a legitimate means of expression?

A: The attention span of our generation is becoming shorter by the day. I think it's from raising millions of kids on TV full of color, noise, and commercials, and setting us up with the internet where we can multi-task 10 times over if we choose. I still think the full-length album is an incredibly valid (and necessary) means of expression, but I do tend to enjoy shorter, more direct albums better. Ten songs, 30 to 40 minutes. I don't want seven- or eight-minute songs, superfluous jams, or excessive elongated production. Give me the song and be done with it.

Q: After all the illegal file-sharing that's gone on over the last 10 years (but not, of course, on Fingertips!), there are many who assert that music will simply have to be free in the future. Your thoughts?

A: It does seem inevitable that eventually music will be a free entity. I'm embracing all the changes in the industry and am confident that if I write music my fans enjoy, they'll continue supporting my future albums and touring endeavors.

Previous Fingertips Q&A interviews:
The Mynabirds (Laura Burhenn) (April 2010)
The Morning Benders (March 2010)
The Minor Leagues (February 2010)
Vandaveer (December 2009)
Morningbell (November 2009)
Kinch (October 2009)
Andrew Spencer Goldman (Fulton Lights) (September 2009)
Brian Sendrowitz (Beat Radio) (August 2009)
Local Natives (July 2009)
Haley Bonar (June 2009)
Jill Sobule (May 2009)
David Harrell (the Layaways) (April 2009)
Joey Barro (The Traditionist) (March 2009)
Dave Derby (Gramercy Arms) (February 2009)
Shane Nelken (The Awkward Stage) (January 2009)
Mark Northfield (December 2008)
Mike Reisenauer (Pale Young Gentlemen) (November 2008)
Brad Armstrong (13ghosts) (October 2008)
Dirk Darmstaedter (September 2008)
Jonatha Brooke (August 2008)

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