Recently, I’ve been listening to multiple artists talk about how music distribution and consumption has changed over the years. The conversations lit a spark in me and I have a lot of thoughts on the topic. It’s such a complex change to talk about, and it’s a mix of (subjectively) positive and negative changes.
I first heard Marc E. Bassy talk about the subject and he was discussing the rise of music subscriptions. With platforms and subscriptions like Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, and more, music is more accessible than ever. It’s crazy to think about how we can access all the available music at an optional small cost per month. Through it, people have discovered music they otherwise might not have found and expanded their musical taste.
We live in an age of information, and there seems to be a constant stream of new music coming out. It gets overwhelming sometimes. Bassy mentions that it seems like people now aren’t giving albums and projects enough listens and time to digest. He continues to state that people would loop and replay an album so much that they could air-drum the songs accurately. I only say that I have that sort of familiarity with a handful of albums.
Bassy has a good point. With the consistent stream of music coming at us and urge to listen to everything to expand our horizons, it’s nearly impossible to fully digest each album/project we want to listen to. In my experience, I’ve needed to given albums around three to five very focused listening to be able to properly judge how I like it. There are times when I’ve listened to something twice and think I didn’t like it, only to listen to it again a couple months later and realize that it’s actually decent. We’re hearing the music, but how much of it are we actually listening to?
The modernity of music now has made things so convenient, but it has also taken away some nostalgic elements. I used to buy CDs when I wanted to listen to an album, which forces me to make hard decisions when I have limited monetary resources. I still have a large collection of CDs back home. However, people rarely buy CDs now since it’s so much easier to stream it on a music platform. My last CD purchase was probably three years ago, and I’m sure that’s more recent than some people. The feeling of having a physical CD in your possession is unexplainable. It forms such a strong, tangible attachment to the music.
Our methods of music consumption will continue to change with the advancement of technology. Our shorter attention spans and need for convenience will in return change the way music is marketed and distributed.
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