Muddy came over to Chrisâ€™s studio apartment on Saturday afternoon. He came with his old guitar wearing his mismatched black thrift store clothes. Chris plugged his ears directly into his music system, and they both played, but since they couldnâ€™t hear each other, it wasnâ€™t much different from being alone. Muddy seemed to be in a meditative state, while Chris was in a state of artistic agitation, more so since the sale of his music files were slipping.
â€œThe problem with music.â€ said Chris, disconnecting his cranial implant from his music system. â€œIs that there arenâ€™t any big stars anymore.â€
â€œHow do you mean?â€ asked Muddy, rubbing his guitar pick between his fingers.
Chris scratched the blond stubble on his face. â€œVideo killed the radio star man. Internet killed the video star. There arenâ€™t any big music celebrities, havenâ€™t been since the big record companies folded.â€
Muddy shrugged, leaning over his acoustic guitar. â€œOh, I donâ€™t know, Visual Purple is doing pretty well.â€
Chris rolled his eyes. â€œVisual Purple? Muddy, they’re not doing any better than you are!â€
â€œIâ€™m doing pretty well.â€
Muddy was selling enough music to buy food and pay rent on his tiny apartment. He played an antique acoustic guitar, which was so old that part of the box had rotted off giving the instrument a sour sound. Muddy had an appeal among a certain kind of intellectual who enjoyed the unique sounds of his bitter guitar.
â€œThatâ€™s not what I mean.â€ said Chris, avoiding the topic of his friends modest success. â€œSure, Visual Purple is selling music, and itâ€™s selling well, but if you went out on the street right now, do you think that if you asked any random person that would know who Visual Purple is?â€
â€œProbably not.â€ admitted Muddy.
â€œBack in the day, we had big stars like Elvis and Aretha Franklin and Jonathan Coulton, people who made big money, who were worshipped by their fans. Now weâ€™ve got all these little players, barely making it by.â€
Muddy looked up from his bitter guitar. â€œWell, we may not have big stars anymore, but now weâ€™ve got thousands of them, constellations. Now weâ€™ve got the whole night sky.â€