Access to music has never been easier or cheaper. With music streaming like Spotify, I can now create a limitless library of music. I have created for myself playlists for classical, instrumentals, all-time favorites and new music. If you read my older blogs, you know that I spend a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops. And coffee shops tend to play hip, cool music. So anytime some music catches my attention, I make a note of it and, voila!, it’s on my list. This is doing wonders for keeping me hip.
However, despite all the convenience and free music, I feel like I’m losing out on something dear to me. I don’t like what music streaming is doing to my other means of listening to music, which include LP’s, CDs and cassette tapes. Yes, I’ve kept all those things and, no, I’m not a hoarder. I see myself more as a nostalgic. Though it’s not happening as much these days, I enjoy walking over to my record collection, pulling out something from my youth, plopping it on the turn table, lowering the needle on it and letting those warm analog sounds fill my living room. Similarly, my cassettes and CDs reconnect me to other wonderful music and memories from the 80s and 90s. But within the last year, I’ve noticed that just the thought of putting vinyl or cd’s seems more and more like an ordeal and I can’t be bothered to look for the stuff. You may think I’m too sentimental and just need to move on. But I really think we’re all losing out on something special.
When I bought records, I was essentially starting a relationship with the musicians. A lot more time was spent with albums. While listening to the music, I would often have the album cover in my hands, admiring the cover art work, reading the lyrics and losing myself in the world centered on the album concept. And more often than not, when an album came out of the record sleeve, it didn’t go back in until both sides were played through.
Now with Spotify, I’m listening to a great a variety of music and artists, but I don’t really form much of a relationship with any of them. I can say to friends “oh yeah, I really like so and so, especially that latest song”. But I know next to nothing about the band members and their history. It’s clear to me that music streaming is changing the experience from one of depth to one of breadth. And what about the money? From what I hear, musicians are seeing less and less of it in the streaming world.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the new musical adventure I’m on thanks to music streaming awesomeness of Spotify. But tonight, I’m going to turn off the computer, pull out my Joni Mitchell albums, play the records, both sides, look at the cover art and let Joni take me on a longer journey.