Confessions of a Serial Songwriter: Musical Musings in a Digital Age

If we lusted after a boy in High School and had to wait for a kiss, would we want it more? Probably. Does it mean it would be better? Not necessarily.

By the same token if we had a crush on a boy (or girl) and were able to kiss him whenever we wanted to for however long we wanted, would we want to kiss him as much? Or for as long? Probably not. We'd most likely pop on over to the next boy--to see how his lips felt on ours. Right? Maybe that same psychology applies to the fickle nature of our relationships with emerging artists. Before us lies an all you can eat buffet. Everything is available and accessible. There for the taking. Why be tied down?

Does having almost every song ever written at our fingertips 24/7 make us take them for granted? Has the ease with which we access music affected the urgency in which we want to hear it?

Hey, there's nothing wrong with playing the field. But if we cared passionately about the player (or the boy), would we stay more engaged? Put them on repeat? Would we want to hear more than a couple of hit singles? Would we be hungry for and receptive to a comprehensive experience--an entire album (a relationship) as opposed to the flitting about from track to track (hooking up).

I guess the argument could be made that...if said boy (or girl) were an outstanding kisser, might he or she be able to keep us connected for a longer period of time?

Has the low price of subscriptions to streaming services (or better yet--the freemium model) changed the way we value music? Or has it simply made it more affordable to test drive everything?

Has the way in which we are handheld and prompted through the vast corridors of Spotify and Pandora, based on our listening behavior, kept us from finding bands we might have discovered organically if we stumbled through the corridors blindly? Tripping and falling perhaps on Deerhunter or Starsailor--who I, to my delight, heard on KCRW, my local non-profit public radio station here in Los Angeles.

Why should I trust an Apple Music DJ anyway? How can I be sure record labels aren't compensating Apple in order to influence what their DJs "choose" to "recommend"? Call me cynical but the music business has a history of non-disclosure and lack of transparency. On the other hand KCRW's Jason Bentley (Morning Becomes Eclectic) and Gary Calamar (Sunday nights) are DJs with whom I have history. Somehow they've managed to successfully turn me on to loads of artists without being privy to any information about my personal algorithms.

Moving on...

If bands didn't have to be concerned with Facebook likes or uploading videos to YouTube would they have more time for their craft? Might they discover quirkier nooks and deeper crannies in their creative endeavors? Would we have artier artists if the only thing that mattered was art?

If the bands that succeed are bands who are good at all of the above does the band that is maddeningly talented but not so good at social media stand a chance? I don't know. I really don't.

I just wonder.

Don't get me wrong. I love the freedom of being able to stream music (although I can't remember the name of the band I listened to yesterday). That said, I can't remember my sister's phone number or the items on my shopping list either. I blame my iPhone.

Last week my daughter texted from college to ask if I'd heard umm, what was their name? See I can't remember. Let me check my thread. Ah...Lake Street Dive; I hadn't. So I asked Spotify and I received. I was instantly gratified--didn't have to wait or lust or waste time doing silly things like anticipating. I dunno. I used to enjoy anticipating. It added value to the long as what I was jonesing for didn't disappoint when I finally had it in my arms.

And now I've gone full circle.


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