Infinite Playlist

I’ve been thinking about the topic of this week’s Dustinland for a while now. It’s the whole Spotify thing. Not just the idea of renting music. The idea that you can just press a button and magically have an album, basically for free. It’s not even the same as illegal downloading. Even that required a bit or work or at least risk. This is just so effortless. People thought illegal downloading devalued music but I wonder if this is even worse.

Don’t get me wrong—I know music is as popular as ever. I just wonder if we’ll have less music-obsessed High Fidelity type nerds in the future. Less passionate music addicts. I mean, people are going to grow up in a world without mixes! Making someone a mix is such an amazingly personal expression—it’s like making a painting for someone. Something you’d slave over to get just right, like a DJ working on a set for some huge festival. Now… what? You can share your entire collection without any effort. What’s the fun of that? It’s all just so disposable now. So casual. Is there even such a thing a cool music collection anymore? Remember going to someone’s house and being wowed by their music—records, tapes, CDs, whatever… Will anyone ever be impressed by someone’s Spotify lists?

It’s tough. The unlimited access is awesome of course, but an entire music lover culture is being wiped away by it. Maybe it will be replaced by a new one that’s just as cool but in different ways. I hope so, I honestly do.

4 responses to “Infinite Playlist

  1. We’re always losing things as we move forward. Hopefully gaining some too.

    • Yeah I agree with that. I think for me personally it’s more interesting to long for things that are gone than to be excited about what’s replacing them.

  2. Bitter Scribe

    This is provocative. Most of the concern over music technology is about what it does to the artists’ income (destroys it). Your comic makes a good point about how it affects the listening audience too. (Although I’m not suggesting that the two things are equal.)

    Confession: I’ve never downloaded music in my life. Pathetic, I know, but I already have enough music on CDs to satisfy me. The one digital tech I use for music is YouTube, which is wonderful, because it allows me to see performances by artists like Yuja Wang and Hillary Hahn that I could probably never see otherwise.

    • It’s a complicated topic. I’ve gotten some emails from my friends over this comic and it led to a 20,000 word discussion that would have made a nice post actually. It’s a fun debate though – always changing, always interesting.

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