Joe Satriani was asked by Bucketlist if he thinks guitar and instruments in general are in danger of becoming extinct due to the way people consume and create music these days, to which he replied:
“There’s two things that are happening that seem to be opposed to each other, but not really – they’re just sort of side by side.
“One is, of course, that popular music will always change channels – always has. If you go back a hundred years, it’s just as crazy – people like piano players, then they don’t; they want trumpet players, then they don’t; then they want singers, and then they don’t. And so rock music is here mainly because it replaced something else. So it’s always been traumatic.
“I think one of the things that came along that seemed to be like a dark cloud but turned out to have this huge silver lining was the internet. We still haven’t worked out the dark part of it, which is how to get musicians compensated; we’re still getting less than a penny for our music that gets streamed – it’s just killing the economy of the musicians.
“But, on the other hand, it has given every musician a democratic chance of having a worldwide audience instantly. I mean, like, instantly! If I release ‘What Happens Next’ at midnight on a Monday, by 12:01 all around the world, it’s available to be listened to by any age group that has access to a computer or a cellphone. That is so amazing for a musician, to think that they can spread their art around so completely and so fast. So that’s really helped my touring life and it increased my real audience.
“Think of this way: we know of plenty of bands that have had hit singles, and then it killed their career. It’s a weird thing that can happen with the world of pop radio and television.
“The internet, however, can create lasting – like, lifelong – fans, who don’t care about hit singles; they really do care about your music on a more realistic level. And they know where you are, and they know that eventually you’ll come around to where they are.
“And, to me, it’s a more natural, dependable outlook for a musician – to think that for the next two years, I can make my way around the world. I’ll get to Montreal, I’ll get to Mumbai, I’ll get to Paris, and I’ll get to Dallas, TX. And then I’ll work on another [album], and then when I release it, everybody in every one of those cities will have the same chance of getting it. That, to me, is so groundbreaking for a musician.”