Friday, January 13, 2006

Me Against the Music

Ars Technica (a fine site for the compute technophile) has this nice opinion piece on growing apathy towards music.

Quote from the original study:

"The degree of accessibility and choice has arguably led to a rather passive attitude towards music heard in everyday life.

"In short, our relationship to music in everyday life may well be complex and sophisticated, but it is not necessarily characterised by deep emotional investment."

Ars Technica refutes:

"In the end, it was people like Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson who turned music from an emotional human experience into a mass-market commodity, not the advent of music downloading and MP3 players. If anything, Internet downloading has offered alternative music a better chance at reaching new audiences than it ever had before."

I'd agree with the second piece. It's not downloading, or too much easy access to music that is causing this apathy. Music on most popular stations on radio and TV is bad. It's as simple as that. There are other factors, like the fact that this generation has many more distractions (computers, the Internet, games, cellphones...), but music media has to do some serious hard work to ensure that it stays relevant to the set of people other than the airhead set who'll lap up anything the mass media throws at them. The discerning people are the ones who are passionate enough to spend on buying CDs, and going to concerts, which is where the real money is.

My morning drive (when I'm not listening to a CD) is punctuated by repeating cycling through local radio stations in the hope of finding a half-decent song to listen to. The same standard set of songs repeat through with hardly any changes. If I hear "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day or "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers a few more times, somebody (or something) is gonna get hurt real bad...

There are amazing songs I've heard out there. They are generally by bands with the weirdest of names like Gorillaz, Death Cab For Cutie, and My Morning Jacket. They pop up on one of the "Alternative" stations or on listener-supported 'eclectic' stations like KCRW or KEXP. These stations surprise you with the sheer variety of music they have on offer.

To paraphrase an (in)famous management institute, Dare to look beyond MTV and popular radio stations?

In the case of Hindi music, dare to look beyond Jatin-Lalit and Anu Malik (or is it Annu Malleeek for numerological purposes now?). Try Indian Ocean or Strings. There are pleasant surprises out there. You may just get passionate about music again.

* The title of this post is the name of a Britney Spears - Madonna single. Exactly my point, it's them against the music. I choose music.

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