I walked to work this morning. While I was getting ready for work my phone was streaming an album which I found last night to be ultra-enjoyable. My headphones were with me; so, I plugged them into the phone and started walking. Got to work; sat down at my desk computer to type this; the album is still playing. Seamlessly it has flown to my ears via 4G wireless and .11n wireless. I have not purchased this album, but I’m going to see the band in about 10 days if I’m able.
This is our wonderful, vibrant, modern world. Where pop music is crowd-sourced and GOOD. No more do we need to rely on corporate people with obvious biases and conflicting inclinations, torn between their artistic roots and boardroom future, who push out to the masses bubblegum crap. These days bubblegum crap still does OK, but nothing like it did in the 90′s. These days, if you don’t have a real soul, if you lack authenticity, you are less likely to “make” it than in the past. I listened to a Moth podcast by one of the Milli Vanilli guys earlier this week who was talking about how things went down for them. I cannot even imagine that happening. Even the corporate music world (I think) understands that it takes more than a pretty face, great hair, and an ability to dance to make it. Unless you want to be a dancer – which you can. I love it.
When you wanted to impress a girl you brought her over, and if she was artsy you figured out a way to let her see your music collection. CDs organized on metal or wooden racks prominently displayed in your room. This is how it was done for decades. Because as was said in High Fidelity, “music, art, television, these things matter, they connect us.” It was a shorthand way to tell her your story in a really interesting way. The tingles of “ohhhhhh, I looooooove this album” and you knew that you had made a connection. Those things were real. Although we are losing the physical objects, it seems to me that the social interaction portion is still very much alive and well.
Now we get to spotify. My friend Frank sent me an invite a couple of weeks ago, and I must say it is only alright if you don’t pay. But then I said let me try their pay service. And a whole new world opened up. It is unbelievable. They have figured out the perfect marriage of a huge library, vibrant community of humans I actually know, along with all my music. What I love about it, is that to be cool on spotify doesn’t matter how big your record collection is, because everyone is operating on the same exact set of tunes. It doesn’t matter if you are a rich person who can afford to spend hundreds on tons of new CD’s or if you are dirt poor and just want to listen to great stuff. You both are operating on the same pay model and have access to the same stuff. We Americans love our individuality and there is something to be said for that, but the Europeans have gone much further than we have in figuring out how to manage communities by sharing. So what does matter on Spotify. I’m not sure as I’m really new to the community, but I suspect what really matters is not the size or breadth of the money that you have spent on albums but on what you have put together, what you have created, mashed up, and collated. It is is your playlists idiot.
That’s how I’m going to judge you in our amazing, cloudy, pomo world. Have a great day everyone, find some good art, enjoy the hell out of it, smile at your neighbors and dance for no reason.
And if you want to know what album I was loving, check out this band.
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