My music and their music… May 15, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
None of it made sense to me, and when I thought for too long about the impact iTunes was having on the texture and structure of my music consumption, I was overcome with a bitter sense of loss.
I used to love collecting music. It was a fun, ongoing process that played out over years, and it provided me with an ever-growing time capsule of my taste. Even after I stopped buying CDs—I had amassed a big, proud shelf of them by the time I left for college—I treated my MP3s as my personal property, and I made a point of owning albums and songs that I loved and wanted to remember for years to come. Not to get too High Fidelity here, but my life was richer for having this collection; in addition to reminding me of songs I might have otherwise forgotten and giving me easy access to them, it was a record of who I was.
Reading Pinkstone’s blog post reminded me how much more fractured and less deliberate my music-listening life has become in the age of iTunes. Instead of having a collection that I care for and build over time, I have what amounts to a random pile of files spread across my various devices. These days when I want to listen to music, I consistently just put on either a streaming playlist that’s been curated for me by somebody else, or whichever big album happened to come out most recently, be it Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo or Rihanna’s ANTI.
But I think part of the problem is that there’s so much music floating around. Remember when you had 50 albums. Or a 150 albums. I checked the other day. On iTunes I’ve 4000 albums plus. Perhaps not all in full, but many/most of them. This is good, but it’s also bad. The new crowds out the old to an absurd degree. Potentially I’ve heard more and different music in my life than someone a 100 years ago would have. Actually I doubt there’s any potentially about it.
I still love it. Pretty much as fiercely as I did at the start – dynamics, basslines, melodies can still take me unawares and there’s always something new. But there’s a lot of it.
Still, that aside iTunes is nightmarish. Not so long ago I replaced by trusty years old iPod Classic with an iPod Touch due to the former disintegrating after many years of play. I like the latter, but not that much. The interface is clunky, confusing and difficult to navigate.
But maybe the truth is that – as has happened before – the way music is listened to, engaged with, is changing yet again. Those of us who were used to Vinyl, and cassettes and then CDs and then downloads may well find streaming a bridge too far, but most people are forging ahead into the future. The distinctions between my music and the corporations music troubles me, and perhaps you, but a lot of people aren’t as worried about having it in the cloud. Is it just becoming background, or less? Or more? Or something different. A hundred years ago ‘my music’ probably didn’t much exist as a concept except for the best off in a society. Now it shifts again. Some of us have been caught in the in-between period. And that’s our problem.
Still, I’m hanging onto my CDs and vinyl and MP3s.