"In the early 1920s," Bigend said, "there were still some people in this country who hadn't yet heard recorded music. Not many, but a few. That's less than a hundred years ago. Your career as a 'recording artist'" -- making the quotes with his hands -- "took place toward the end of a technological window that lasted less than a hundred years, a window during which consumers of recorded music lacked the means of producing that which they consumed. They could buy recordings, but they couldn't reproduce them. The Curfew came in as that monopoly on the means of production was starting to erode. Prior to that monopoly, musicians were paid for performing, published and sold sheet music, or had patrons. The pop star, as we knew her" -- and here he bowed slightly, in her direction -- "was actually an artifact of preubiquitous media."
"Of a state in which 'mass' media existed, if you will, within the world."
"As opposed to?"
-- Hollis Henry, lead singer of the long-defunct indie-rock band The Curfew, gets a lesson in the New World Order from for-profit spookworld entrepreneur Hubertus Bigend in Chapter 20 of William Gibson's new novel, Spook Country.