I’ve been a fan of the musician Peter Gabriel for a long time, back since he was the front man for the band Genesis – before Phil Collins (who was the drummer in Gabriel’s time) took the band on an inexorable plunge to middle-of-the-road mediocrity. Since then Peter Gabriel has demonstrated a broader musical palette, generally of high quality, but almost always replete with meaningful and socially aware themes – notably the tribute to Steve Biko, the anti-apartheid activist.
In 2007 I had the pleasure of discussing with him his Web 2.0 plans for the Witness Hub, a ‘YouTube for human rights’. (The TAS Group supports the Witness Hub through our philantropic vehicle The TAS Foundation.) His vision was well ahead of many commercial enterprises and the Hub is now fully operational and exhancing the good work of Witness, a NGO that exposes human rights violations. The Hub is a great example of a Web 2.0 portal, leveraging collaboration and social network capabilities.
But not all of Gabriel’s activities are altruistic. He’s an active investor and practitioner in internet music delivery systems. Today’s article in the New York Times – an old rocker gets digital – tells of how through We7, The Filter, and OD2, he’s impacting how the fractured music industry is evolving.
In Dave Stein’s recent post, he advises against slow adoption of Web 2.0 technologies – and rightly so. It’s happening all around us, and we need to consider the attendant power-shift that goes with those who are leveraging this potential early.
In Peter Gabriel’s words (in his duet with Kate Bush)… Don’t give up