ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Talk time: Sealhenry Samuel

British singer Seals latest album—Seal IV—his first in five years, was released last month

As an early adopter, has the net lived up to your expectations? Absolutely. It has eliminated the “rock star”. It has bridged the gap between the listener and the artist. It has set new rules and a new order and is saying that if all you are doing is making music we can get that, you have to give more. We have to be able to almost reach out and touch you. You cant be aloof any more.

What about piracy? You have to become a brand that people subscribe to, in the same way you would subscribe to a monthly magazine. Theyve got to like what youre about rather than just your music. If were just selling the music, then people will just download it. So in becoming that brand and becoming that philosophy, people perceive the value, and they want to buy it. They wont want to steal it.

Does this mean the end of the CD? Ultimately, I feel that music will move to a time when there is no physical inventory. I think CDs will die out. If you talk to a kid in eight years time they will say: “What, you used to have these things? You used to have to physically carry music around? How bizarre!”

What might replace them? I believe that eventually music will be just like satellite TV, just like the BBC Archive and HBO on demand—a subscription model where you will pay a fee each month. All your playlists—such as Ians favourite tracks that he likes to listen to on his way to work or ‘Ians favourite tracks that he likes to listen to when hes about to go to bed—will exist in cyberspace and you will access them from the iPod. But the iPod will be linked to the internet. You will be able to access them when you go to your hotel room. Youll just put in your password and your username and all your playlists will be there and you will listen to music.

Microsoft or Apple? Im a Mac devotee and its not because they give me free gear or anything like that! Their advances into technology are superb. Their initiative towards dealing with the whole copyright violation issue in music is unbelievable. The Microsoft operating system can never be as intuitive as OSX or Apple. The smartest thing Apple ever did was that they decided, “Right, OK, we need to rebuild the OS from the ground up. Throw everything out of the window.”

Instant messaging? I use iChat. My last album—Human Beings—had a really interesting approach to liner notes.

I included a series of transcripts and instant message conversations, conversations I overheard between my producer and my manager at the time, letters, emails to really close friends, segments of emails, all linked with bits of my least pretentious poetry.

Seals bookmarks

  • BBC archive
  • HBO On Demand
  • iChat
  • iTunes