Birthdays offer an opportunity for reflection, and with the following link to a SXSW panel I found on mine today, those thoughts are on the way we approach music as we grow older. This is a long, long listen but interesting to skim through:
The problem as I see it isn’t that there’s too much music being released (76,000 albums last year in the US alone), or that the quality is declining. It’s that there is no longer any single easy way to find the good stuff amongst all the crap. There has always been ‘bad’ music, just as there has always been ‘good’ music, but the sheer volume of information about it has made the sifting process much more difficult.
Growing up, I’d find out about new music a couple of ways–either I’d hear a song on the radio and rush out to buy the album when it came out (remember midnight album release openings at record stores?), or I’d hear it on a friend’s stereo and like it enough to want my own copy. As i got older I’d hear stuff on the PA in my local record store and buy it, or ask the clerks whose opinions I trusted about any new stuff I ought to hear. Now, there are so many different ways to ‘discover’ new music that it should be a music lover’s paradise surrounded by beautiful music that envelops one with a satisfying aural environment–instead it’s like a slowly creeping, flaming pit of hell where one keeps slipping closer and closer to the flames while grasping at ever-increasing options for escape. Who do you pay attention to? Who do you trust not to waste your time? Because it’s time that is the issue here–if I had enough time I’d listen to everything. Given my rapidly dwindling days here on earth I’m more inclined to give new music less and less time, but I still try to hear everything I can that looks or sounds interesting.
Nostalgia for the ‘old days’ can be dangerous, or at least a crutch for lazy listeners who don’t want to discover anything new, so the problem of ‘too much’ is not really a problem at all, I guess. I’m here blogging in this space to try and highlight the kind of music that still gets me up every day excited to find something new to listen to, and I’m not going anywhere soon no matter how old I get, or how much your music sucks.