Jazz composer Maria Schneider: ‘David Bowie cracked me – maybe not in a good way’

The US musician has won star admirers and seven Grammys across three decades of lyrical and angry work – but you can’t stream it. She explains her fight against big tech, and her dismay at other artists’ apathy

Maria Schneider is one of the world’s most distinguished composers for jazz orchestra, a key collaborator for David Bowie and a seven-time Grammy winner – but it’s likely that you won’t have heard her work, and never will. This is entirely by design.

Back in the early 2000s, it was illegal filesharing that angered Schneider. These days, the 63-year-old is confronting streaming platforms. “It’s a threat to democracy, to ideas, to creativity,” she says of business models driven by data exchange.

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