Just a Minute With: British musician Peter Gabriel

Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:11pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Grammy-winning musician Peter Gabriel believes the Internet has drowned users with too much choice, failed to democratize the pop industry as much as was hoped and eroded the quality of what people listen to.

The 58-year-old producer, former Genesis frontman, world music champion and digital technology pioneer is involved in two new ventures he hopes will address his concerns.

The first is The Filter (www.thefilter.com), which aims to produce a blueprint of an individual's taste in music, movies, news and views by analyzing what the person buys online.

Users can recommend songs and films to each other, and, further down the line, may be able to customize their profiles by selecting particular directors, artists and critics.

The second is a venture with speaker makers Bowers & Wilkins that offers an exclusive album each month recorded at his Real World Studios and available online as an uncompressed file, which should ensure CD-standard quality.

Gabriel, who helps organize the WOMAD world music festival in Britain, this year from July 25 to 27, spoke to Reuters about his new projects.

Q: What is the main idea behind The Filter?

A: I think in a world in which we are drowning in choice and have access to everything, we are going to rely more and more on good filtering. I think one of the ways we are trying to do this a little differently is (to) integrate the best of expert systems -- best of machine and best of man. There are living, breathing people whose tastes and guidance we trust whether they be friends, experts, musicians, film directors, critics, journalists.   Continued...

<p>Peter Gabriel of Britain, former member of rock band Genesis, poses during a photo call at the 42nd MIDEM (International Record Music Publishing and Video Music Market) in Cannes, southeastern France January 28, 2008. REUTERS/Gilbert</p>