Ten Things Musicians Can Learn from Program or Be Programmed

From We All Make Music:

In an age of digital downloads, virtual instruments, and social-media fandom, everybody, musicians especially, must learn how technology is controlled. People who fail to do that run the risk of leaving themselves open to manipulation — i.e., to being controlled.

That anxiety-stoking thesis is central to a new book by Douglas Rushkoff, who besides being a prolific author and longtime observer of digital life, has played keyboards in the experimental industrial band Psychic TV.

The book – Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age – describes in detail how the software that powers digital technology both shapes and informs human existence. And the book’s lessons, taken one command at a time, provide useful advice (some functional, much philosophical) to working musicians.

To provide a clearer sense of what Rushkoff means, we’ve created a chapter-by-chapter cheat sheet to his book. This isn’t a replacement for the book, just a test run of Rushkoff’s thinking. Despite their pithy titles, the individual commands of Program or Be Programmed are a lot denser, and have a lot more to them. Each “translation” provided below is but one key lesson to be taken away from the given chapter.