Thursday, August 13, 2020 16:23

I’m Jabba, The Musical Hut

I used to purchase music on Albums / Cassettes / CD’s.  Music purchases were an “event” for me and the first time I grooved to a new album, I always followed along with the lyrics as I listened.  Because I rarely listened to the radio except in the car, everything I owned always got played in heavy rotation and through this way, I inadvertently memorized the lyrics off of most every disc that I owned.

I quit buying music when I signed up for Yahoo Music Unlimited back in 2006.  What an amazing concept!  I immediately began streaming music all day every day while I work (which I continue to do now and will do forever into the future) and I left all my CD’s to gather dust in their crates.  I’ve never actually purchased a music track (iTunes GFY).  Instead, I pay a monthly fee for access to darned near every record available.  I believe it was $4.99 a month to start…when Rhapsody absorbed Yahoo Music Unlimited, I stuck with them and now, I believe it’s $12.99 per month.  I’ve dallied with Spotify , Pandora and ConcertVault a bit over the years, but I’m probably the heaviest Rhapsody user in their subscriber base.

Services like Rhapsody have entirely altered both my consumption patterns of music as well as my relationship to the artists that I listen to.  On the one hand, since I don’t have to pay for particular tracks, I can freely listen to anything that strikes my fancy.  I listen to many new releases.  I take chances listening to Rhapsody’s algorithmic suggestions.  Also, when I pick an artist to focus on, it isn’t unusual that I listen to most or all of the entire available catalog.  I’ve listened to certain artists for 2-3 days straight.

However, I’ve also turned into a somewhat indiscriminate consumer of music.  I very rarely put tracks on any kind of frequent rotation, meaning nothing ever gets to become all that familiar in my head.  This also means that I never end up memorizing lyrics to anything.  As a matter of fact, I frequently can’t even name any lyrics of songs that I’ve heard a bunch of times…nor can I name any tracks off of albums I listen to.  Also, since I’m almost always working when the music is playing, the music is always my “secondary” activity and my perception of it is very much lessened.  Fortunately, I’m extremely good at picking out melodies that I’ve heard before…so I know when something is familiar even if I haven’t heard it for a while or have heard it only once or twice.

Even more strange is that there are a bunch of artists who I really love and listen to a lot that I’ve only listened to on streaming musical services.   As an example, I’ve only listened to Jack White “stream”.  I play his music quite a bit but I don’t feel nearly the closeness to his art as I do to someone like Bruce Springsteen.  Every new Springsteen album was a significant event in my life and the act of listening to it, analyzing it, and talking about it was a really big deal (though I’ve consumed his most recent albums the same way I consume all other music).

Though more superficial, my connection to Jack White is much more social than it is to Springsteen.  It contains YouTube Videos, Blog Posts, News Articles & Social Media Updates.  Fundamentally, this makes Jack White more human and more accessible in my eyes.  However, no matter how talented he is, I could never put him on the same pedestal as Springsteen for Gods can’t be all that accessible to mere mortals.

Unlike music, my relationship with film hasn’t fundamentally changed.  I watch movies like I used to listen to new albums.  I am guilty of sometime having my new Nexus 7 next to me to track a game score while a film is on, but my film watching habits haven’t degraded in the same way as my music listening habits have.

As much as I love music, I lack the deep connection to it that I used to have.  Film affects me much more deeply than music because I can have a very similar viewing experience in my home that I have in the theater…and I can create that experience much more often.  However, nothing beats a kick ass live concert…and those experiences haven’t changed a bit for me (besides the fact that I can afford to go much more often).

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