Well, at least *my* opinion of why… 🙂 This post doesn’t contain facts and figures, but a gut level reaction…
Today, it finally hit me why the music industry is nothing like the industry was through the 90’s. What event brought this revelation on? It was when I was listening to my weekly ‘New Music’ mix from Apple Music. This new feature has been huge! I’ve been introduced to some modern music that sounds like my favorite classics! Awesome!
What happened was that I listened to the music, thought ‘cool’, and moved on. I didn’t buy the band’s album, either electronically or physically. In fact, I had heard the band on my playlist a couple of weeks ago, had thought ‘cool!’, and promptly forgot the name of the band.
That is when it finally hit me…
I don’t cherish the music anymore.
Let me repeat that… I don’t cherish the music anymore.
What do I mean by that?
Well… when I was growing up, getting a record/cassette/CD was a big deal. It was expensive! ($10 on a student job salary or worse, an allowance was a LOT of money!). Plus, I didn’t have a way to pick and choose songs, unless you spent $4 on a single. Also, playback was pretty linear, you really couldn’t copy different songs from different albums. You either had to build a mix tape with the double cassettes or just listen to the whole album. Finally, the playback devices really didn’t support multiple albums. I remember listening to the same cassette for a month in my car.
This meant that I listened to an album a LOT. Not just once or twice, but ten times, 100 times, even more. I got to know those songs. Got to know the song before each song. Got to know the song AFTER each song. Really dug into the music. Really listened to the words. Identified with the songs. Even mentally stored them away for a time when I would understand them. And, so, when the band I would listen to for a month on end had a new album, I purchased. Wash, rinse, repeat…
With that, I cherished every record, cassette, or CD I ever owned… the music was part of me.
Then, along came .mp3s, Napster, and subscription music services.
Now, for $10 a month, a person can get almost everything ever recorded. It’s like Columbia House’s advertisements came true! Any album, any song, any time! Music nirvana!
And, in doing so, the music industry lost something.
They lost the ability to connect.
Now, if you don’t dig a song, it’s ‘next’, there ‘something else out there’. Or, even if a song resonates with you, you don’t listen to it for hours on end. I heard some great music on my new playlist, and I did nothing to further the band (i.e. buy the album in some form). I didn’t even make a play list or listen to the whole album. In doing so, I stopped cherishing the music. These songs are forgotten 20 minutes after I listen to them. I do nothing to etch them on my soul, like I did when I was younger. These are not songs that I will hate upon listening to them, then grow into them after 10, 20, even 30 years.
The music truly became a commodity, and the only ones that survive are the mega stars that the record companies create. Everyone else will live off of the crumbs.