A Note On Music
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
My true love for music began on my 10th birthday. It was that day when my parents finally gave me that pink and white polka-dot boom box from Target (yes it played CDs, tapes, AND had AM/FM radio) that I had been asking them to buy me for months. At the time, I believed it to be the greatest gift in the world—the greatest piece of technology ever invented. A collection of CDs complete with my beloved Backstreet Boys Millennium and my dad’s favorite Tom Petty album, Into the Great Wide Open, shortly followed. While the collection of CDs slowly grew, I listened to the albums that I had accumulated on repeat, flipping through the booklets of lyrics and artwork.
Now, the days of obsessively listening to these albums are far behind. In this era of instant satisfaction and gratification, it’s easy to forget the days before effortless downloads, music blogs, and unlimited streaming from an online radio. Over the course of our short lifetimes, it seems as though everything about the way we listen to music has evolved. Even the period of over-jealous middle school Napster downloads and CD burning feels like eons ago. With the rise of online retailers (followed by a multitude of illegal ways to download), music just became easier and easier to find and listen to.
Today, as an avid music lover, I have more access to and listen to more music than ever before. There is no longer just one way to listen. From iTunes, to Pandora, to Amazon mp3s, to 8tracks, the options are endless. You can always hear what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. It’s now possible play an Internet radio based on mood, search for similar artists to ones you’re interested in, or even to check out what your friends are listening to. What’s more, the discovery of the latest hip-hop mixtape or the hot new indie band from the Northwest is right at our fingertips. Whether you are a lover of music blogs, a social media fanatic, or just someone who gets sent a YouTube link to a new catchy tune by your roommate, the potential for stumbling upon new or unknown music has become extraordinarily easy for everyone. People just now seem to know a lot more about what’s out there, even when they don’t necessarily own the rights to the music itself.
This past summer, I reluctantly jumped on the Spotify bandwagon. While some of my friends had been raving about the service for months, I was hesitant to move away from my obsessive and meticulous use of my iTunes library. I was caught up by the fact that the library and playlists were my own, something that I had been developing for years, and I was unenthusiastic to do something different. However, within a few days of use, I was hooked. I could skip an unlimited number of songs, subscribe to a friend’s playlists through the Facebook integration, and discover infinite amounts of new music through features and apps. The possibilities were endless.
But is it all too much? Is the amount of music available an information overload? What could possibly come next? I must admit, there are some days that I can’t make up my mind. I don’t know what to listen to or how I should listen to it. I find myself anxious as to whether I should be on the look out for the next rising artist or if I should spend time listening to ones I already love. Technology has undoubtedly brought us closer to music. Yet maybe it has gone too far. Sometimes, I find myself longing for the simple afternoons of placing the scratched Tom Petty disc into the polka dot boom box and dancing around my living room to “Learning to Fly.”