Today, we digest our music by the handful, downloading mp3s and streaming our favorite records.
An entire generation of music lovers will not have to spend $16.99 for twelve tracks but a whopping $.99 each for the best three of twelve. Most likely the single.
Therein lies a problem. Or better yet, it proposes a question.
What is music worth to YOU?
Lately(within the last 5-10 years) it’s been difficult to gauge whether or not our audio media has any integral value.
Sure, you love listening to music—on the bus, in the car, reading, eating—as it is a very dominant part of your daily life.
But, have you considered the long term value of your playlist?
We’d like music to FEEL important. It shares a special place, a marker of events—an awesome party or that terrible break-up.
But, when it comes to perceived value, music is almost like air. It’s there, and we need it… but I’m not sure anyone cares unless it goes away entirely.
It wasn’t always this way for sure. Truth is, our listening habits have changed with new technology.
In an earlier article, we addressed the album, and whether or not it would survive the 21st century with streaming becoming the black hat of the recording industry.
For the first time we no longer have to visit a record store(they still exist?!). Instead, we carry the record store in our pockets.
An entire generation of music lovers will never deal with the painstaking time it took to make mixtape. Sitting by the radio for hours on end just to push record on a boom box.
Hell, you may not have known THAT was the concept behind a mixtape. 😆
Today, music is offered for free with streaming services like Spotify, Jango, Pandora, even YouTube. And if you’re feeling hardcore, a monthly premium option is offered at aound $9.99.
Now, Tidal has entered the fray!
The streaming platform emerged a few years ago with its inherit value being a hi-fidelity audio and content service. The other value being it is a platformed owned by the shared equity of the CREATORS of our favorite songs.
It may or may not get the majority of music listeners to rally behind its inherit value. But will for certain earn a gold plaque from music aficionados and audio buffs.
A welcome alternative.
It may certainly address the awkward conversation between labels, artists, and fans since the Napster days: what is music worth?
We may never see a new audio format rise after the mp3’s. It should not take away from the value that was put into creating an artist’s music. Or the time and energy you spent enjoying that music either.
Whether purchasing a physical CD, vinyl(yes, vinyl is enjoying a great return), or through iTunes(hopefully no one’s buying cassette), our favorite records—here and yet to come—deserve a chance to be heard at their highest quality and appreciated with no less of an attitude.
It is, after all, the same attitude we use when purchasing a good book, or tickets to a summer blockbuster.
What do you think?
How do YOU prefer to listen to music? Tell me below. 👇