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<   No. 2513   2009-12-13   >

Comic #2513

1 Iki Piki: So why is this called the Swamp of Terror?
2 Spanners: It's a cyberzone that manifests our most terrifying innermost thoughts and fears.
3 Serron: Gaaaah!! Is that Duran Duran playing live over there?
4 Paris: And us without tickets!

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Do you think 400 years from now people will still be listening to any of today's pop music?

I'm moderately - but not very - confident that The Beatles' stuff will still be at least moderately well known. But if I have to be honest, I'm not sure if much else will hold up over that sort of timescale.

What music were people listening to 400 years ago? Unless you're a student of Renaissance era music, you probably can't name anything*. That was before Beethoven, Mozart, even before Bach, who is about the oldest composer I have very much familiarity with. It was more than a hundred years before Bach. Looking at a timeline of music now, I see that Vivaldi and Pachelbel predated Bach by a few years, but earlier than that there are none of the widely recognised names of classical or earlier music.

[Aside: There are almost certainly people reading this who can rattle off the names of a dozen or more Renaissance era composers or musical compositions. But you're not regular Joes now, are you? :-) ]

Now think of the technological and societal changes since 1600. And factor in the fact that those sort of changes are accelerating. We have almost no hope of imagining what our society and culture will be like 400 years from now. How can we possibly say what parts of the transient musical legacy of our age will even be remembered then, let alone still listened to by the masses? There will of course be academics and ancient music aficionados who will study the pop music of now, but I would not at all be surprised if the vast majority of humanity have moved on and simply forgotten almost all of it.

* Okay, except maybe Greensleeves. I'll give you that one.

2023-11-09 Rerun commentary: In two musical coincidences:

1. The Beatles' new song Now and Then was released today as I write this, and I just listened to it for the first time less than 2 hours ago. As a Beatles fan (I have all their albums), my impression? Well, it definitely sounds like a Beatles song. But one I'd expect as filler on Sergeant Pepper or Abbey Road, and not a single.

2. Duran Duran, who I last updated you on nine years ago, are still recording new albums and performing concerts. Since that update they've released three new albums, the last one just a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, the longer they go on, the more respect I have for them as a band. Maybe they'll still be performing in 400 years and we'll have an answer to the above question.

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