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My music and their music… May 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Some good points made in this over view of iTunes – which has become a nightmare. And I empathise with the following:

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.

Comments»

1. Jim Monaghan - May 15, 2016

My brother-in-law lives in Leitrim. Very into music and has eclectic tastes. No broadband where he lives and he is quite low tech. He visits all the charity shops in Dun Laoghaire when he visits us. He usually get about 5/6 CDs of various genres. And likes about 4. He likes having an artifact. I sometimes look for stuff he might like in the same places. I notice that a few of tegh charity shops no longer stock them and that the prices have collapsed for CDs and DVDs. Though 2 of the shops still stock VHS. Interesting to note the rise and fall of an industry.

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2. CMK - May 15, 2016

An interesting debate. One thing clear to me about the growing dominance of iTunes is that vast swathes of music will be lost. Particularly, if you have a penchant for some of the more obscure bands and acts over the past 30 or so years. For instance, I can’t find anything by Microdisney on it and very little by Fatima Mansions. Likewise there was a great indie band ‘Adorable’ who released a brilliant album ‘Against Perfection’ in 1992/3 and, again, can’t find them on iTunes. Granted the full album is on YouTube but it’s not the same. Also, I totally empathise with the joy to be had in the physicality of a music collections. I suspect it might be where the whole digital thing might come a cropper. Human beings like having physical objects in their possession. The process seems well under way with books, where ‘real’ book sales are on the increase again and Ebooks are receding. Maybe, hopefully, the same will happen with music……..

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WorldbyStorm - May 15, 2016

100% agree re the dangers of ITunes dominance. Just re the Irish Nuggets post of this morning trying to find a lot of tracks is impossible – though surprising what has been digitised. A lot is down to the licensing which just stinks. .

I’d often wondered about Adorable. Great name. I’ll check em out.

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gendjinn - May 15, 2016

There’s a problem that very few people have more than a hundred albums. So the software is never going to be made to cater for those with over couple of thousand. Songbird held out hope for a while but it’s gone.

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WorldbyStorm - May 15, 2016

Yeah, it is ridiculous. A fair chunk of my stuff is vinyl rips of albums that were only released for a year or two and never again. And I’d bet that I only listen to a song or two off each. But I do listen to those songs.

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3. CL - May 15, 2016
4. sonofstan - May 16, 2016

The idea that ‘everything’ is available these days is overstated; we were talking about Kevin Coyne yesterday and I had a sudden yen to listen to Marjorie Razor Blade. The LP is in Dublin, so I looked online – nothing on you tube and i don’t do spotify. Never mind, I was heading into London anyway, great world city etc….. Rough trade, flashback, sister Ray,….. Not a trace.
What shops actuall y carry in terms of back catalogue is pretty thin these days: if you don’t buy it on release your chances of finding it even months later are slim, unless it’s fairly mainstream.

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5. Dr. X - May 16, 2016

I don’t do spotify and the likes of that – though I did use grooveshark when it was available in Germany (does it even exist anymore?).

I do like the way youtube’s algorithms will bring up interesting stuff you would never have heard of otherwise, like this:

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