I've been thinking about the innovation of interactive streaming--how versatile, convenient and instantly gratifying it is. Interactive, however, means that before I take off for a drive to the mall or a run on the beach I have a decision to make: what do I want to listen to? There is much pre-thought involved in all the interaction.
The swiping and tapping alone call for more handling of a device (my iPhone), from which I've been making efforts to physically disconnect (especially on the beach!) Oh and by the way, I'm getting a curious irritation on my pinky finger--the part that meets the open connection on the bottom of the (larger and heavier) iPhone 6--from all the holding (and balancing) with one hand. Has anybody else noticed this? It doesn't feel right and Apple needs to know.
But I digress.
There's something to be said for spontaneity--the surprise of what's coming versus the anticipation of the track you know is up next in the queue. And ball-parking the genre doesn't eliminate my dilemma. There is still time spent and energy expended pondering and committing to the mood I'm in the mood for.
What's always been so much fun for me is the "anything-can-happen" possibilities when you're not in control. It's like the idea I once had about who I wanted to love. You can knock yourself out designing the guy of your dreams but the one who ultimately becomes your beloved is usually quite different from the criteria on that list.
In my car I enjoy jumping from "70s on 7" to "Hits 1" to "Alt Nation" with the effortless poke of a fingertip. Especially because when "Maggie May" comes on I'm the happiest girl on Mulholland Drive. Or when I am re-acquainted with the modulation in "Cracklin' Rosie" my baby-boomer heart bursts with joy. When I work out, my music delivery system of choice is FM radio on a head band. I may look like a geek running through the canyon with an antenna sticking up (and a fanny pack around my waist), but these are things I just don't care about any more. Plus, there's a dial behind my ear that I can access and maneuver easily with my thumb to change the station. And it doesn't make me paranoid about finger cancer.
Full disclosure, only a year ago I didn't know the meaning of the coupling of these words: Interactive and streaming. And just last week I asked my husband what I.P. stands for. Admittedly, I'm a bit behind in the tech savvy department.
Having said that, I have an open mind and a healthy learning curve. Today, I am a paid subscriber on Spotify (tomorrow--Apple's: "A-list:Indie") and often program playlists from songs I've purchased on iTunes...because I'm not so old school that on occasion I don't enjoy accommodating whatever my ears desire.
For example, the other day I had a craving for that new Family Of The Year track. I couldn't think of the name of it...or exactly how it went...but I remembered how it made me feel...and I wanted to feel that feeling again. Immediately! Spotify helped me. It was this:
But I had to ask myself: how did I hear "Make You Mine" in the first place? The answer is: I heard it on KCRW. I didn't call it up or seek it out from a pre-programmed menu or pre-determined genre. It found me.
So maybe my personal cocktail calls for a little On-Demand from Column A and a little Leave-It-To-Fate from Column B.
But I think I will order just a wee bit more from Column B because with everything on my mind: getting my book out in Sept...what to make for dinner...my only child going to college in the fall...will Taylor Swift really go to Washington with me?...why does my cat throw up so much?...will I ever write another hit song?...there's a liberation in having one less decision to make; one less question to answer: What do I want to listen to? Sometimes a girl just wants to press "power on" and say...go ahead, Neil Diamond. You know what to do. Play me.