„If you are streaming music online you are robbing yourself and the artist“
First of all, music is important to me, just like water. Maybe not so vital physically, more in a mental way.
There have been times in my life, when Vinyl was like a second currency in my household.
Those times are gone. Why? Because I have more than enough vinyl and I became lazy. How?
I switched to iTunes. I admit, that it is comfortable not having to switch over a vinyl.
Comfort, as always has a price tag attached, it is taking away a certain magic, patience and depth from my musical experience.
In former days I used to leave a record on the turntable for days, sometimes weeks and that lead me to listen to the same record over and over again. It wouldn’t have stayed there if it weren’t good, trust me on that.
That is how I became so intensely close to some of my records. Sadly this isn’t the case anymore.
iTunes and my habit of using it are to blame. Some day I took all my CDs and ripped them into iTunes. Fine in one way. Easy to access. Easy to scroll through. But it comes with a loss. A loss of knowledge, who played on the record, who did the artwork, what clues about the artist are to be found on the artwork. I love records with lyrics on the inner sleeve. In fact that is how I kept my english from rusting away through times without any contact to native speakers. Reading music lyrics and listening to various styles and dialects. That is why I am able to understand a Jamaican almost as effortless as well as a bloke from Manchester.
I used to take my time to dive into the music. In the past. Today I have to force my self to do this. And whenever I do, it brings me to a higher level of appreciation for the artist’s work. I am noticing the subtle cues in the musical mix and the lyrical adventure the artist wanted me to take part in.
Today there is soundcloud, bandcamp and what not. Don’t get me wrong I love those services, because they are delivering a possibility for artists to release their music and gain an audience without a middle man. But it seems like the audience is easily found to be in haste, skipping through the tracks, looking for something new, something more daring.
These services train us, or better we ourselves train our brain into becoming a skipping personality when it comes to music. Of course there are other aspects in life we tend to skip too, but here I want to focus on the music consumption experience.
So we became skippers?
Then streaming services come into that perfectly carved mental place. They combine the comfort of a digital music library with a skipping possibility, even on mobile devices. So no more playlists management, no more search in record stores or flee markets for this one version of a track or a certain special release. There is no more suspense. Consumption is happening in an instant. ASAP. To me it’s like a movie or book you already know the end of.
That devalues the product. Musicians sometimes work for a year to find a sound, to write the lyrics the way they want to write it. And then the consumer skips their work with a blink of an eye.
The worst part: The artist is getting paid close to zero for that play if you stream his music online.
When I bought a CD and I skipped it, at least the artist got their portion of the price tag. I admit and know that some had signed very bad contracts. But that was their responsibility.
So this time around I hope that I can stick to what I cherish. I want music, art in general to have a chance to reach me. Touch me really. For that to happen I have to give it some time, more spins in some cases to let it sink in. So any suggestion what I should play next is taking me away from that very moment.
Additionally it’s simple psychology. If I spent money on a product my tendency to attribute quality towards it would be higher.
There are many records in my collection that I wouldn’t buy again. But I don’t regret the deal. One cannot have enough currency, right?
You know those cheap sneakers aren’t worth anything ;).
So this is my personal take on streaming. I don’t do it.
I feel like I have to fight for my depth of listening to music again and take the responsibility back.
Music has a special place in my life and Ilke to keep the comfort and the effort to enjoy it in balance.