I talk about music in the newsletter. What do you hear and listen to? In the comments, let me know what you think.

The Drang and Sturm are related.

Jeremy Irons plays a reptilian bank CEO in Margin Call, a film about the run-up to the financial crash. It's all done. There's nothing else. I'm afraid that I don't hear anything. Silence.

A good description of an editor in chief's job is Irons' character talking about the music of the financial markets. What music am I listening to as another year ends?

Definitely not quiet. It's like a huge orchestra in a loud noise. Over the past year and a half the section has gone from Appalachian Spring to the Ride of the Valkyries before being briefly shocked into John Cage's 4'33" The Big Tech brass marching band is still marching but has put mufflers in all of its instruments, except for the one that plays a funeral dirge way too loud and fast. After the first mRNA vaccines were approved, they were doing Beethoven's Ode to Joy at full blast, but have since turned into some kind of enigmatic Steve Reich–style multipart harmony that is slowly building to something we can't quite see yet. The artificial intelligence players are now throwing around massive end-of-the-world organ cords and snatches of every composer they can think of, because they have gone so deep in on themselves.

Maybe this is why I found myself browsing Indian classical music the other night in search of calm, and even so kept finding my nerves so jangled that I only listened to the tanpura, the background drone that lulls your mind into a kind of stoned state.

The song is called Ma Non Troppo.

What has struck me about the past year is how frequently I have had to change my assumptions about where things are going.

It felt like it was on its way to becoming like cloud computing but with tools like DALL-E and Midjourney. The Kevin Kelly WIRED essay from last year is still the best thing to read on why it won't work.

Over the next year, I think the music will be a symphony by someone like a Richard Strauss or a Bruckner, with quiet passages and lots of Sturm und Drang. We will continue to be amazed by the advances in video, but we will come to realize how bad the text is.

The collapse of FTX is encouraging those working on long-term, thornier Web3 projects, who are glad to see the speculators and NFT go. The culture of innovation and ferment of new ideas about things like governance and data ownership is more important than the fact that I have yet to discover an application that really couldn't be done without a block chain. In May of last year, Gilad wrote for us, "Web3 is a realm where coders and technologists can connect with the joy of hacking, where they can feel good again about working in technology." I hope the coming year will bring more thoughtful variations from the community.

The tech layoffs of the past year, according to one site that tracks them, seem to be shifting the sound of the industry, but it is not certain. Will we hear a rallentando as they scale back ambitions, or a dark, ruthless drum beat as they shed people who aren't core to the moneymaking business and demand more of those who stay? Steven Levy wrote recently that a lot of people with engineering skills are trying to figure out their next move. Expect a forest full of bright little new contrapuntal melodies to emerge, many of them with those coming out of the crypt and the artificial intelligence world.

It's Diminuendo.

I hear echoes and quieting from an instrument that has already stopped playing. In two years, those echoes will have stopped and we won't use the term "metaverse" anymore. We will eventually realize that it makes more sense to just talk about the things that are already there.

What do you think of the social media site? I'm not sure. The music is getting worse. It could be Megadeth.

Richard Powers' Orfeo, which is a maestro-level example of the art of musicological, is one of the books I most loved reading this year. It will make good holiday reading, and the collection of works he references will make good holiday listening. I hope you have time to relax.