Every once in a while I get nostalgic for the pre-Internet days when we were very selective about the albums we bought and then played the damn things over and over again. If there was a song in the tracklist we didn’t like, we let it run anyway rather than skip over it. We became intimately acquainted with every note and nuance on the record.
Today, though, that’s changed. When you’re a hardcore music nerd bred on the infinite all-you-can-eat buffet of the Internet, all you can think about is the music you haven’t heard yet. We spend all our time searching and researching music and not enough time savoring it. That’s because we know that no matter how much we’re listening to now there are potentially millions and millions of songs out there that we’ll like more–if we could just find them. So we keep searching and searching and searching.
But not everyone is so obsessive. I was reminded by this in an article from The DIY Musician which cautions us to slow down, take our time and learn to enjoy music the old fashioned way. It’s healthier.
I have a couple friends that are obsessed with music discovery. For them it’s a 24/7 pursuit. All day, every day they’re listening to the latest releases and playlists, skipping over anything they’ve already heard. I asked one of these friends once when he was compiling his Year-End Best-Of list how many times he’d actually listened to his favorite album from the past 12 months. His answer was something like, “Oh, maybe two or three times at most. I just can’t go back and re-listen to things with so much more music to discover.”
Theoretically, I get it. He wants to be in-the-know, up on the latest trends, or to satisfy his inner collector. But emotionally, I don’t understand at all. I get obsessed with songs or albums that move me, not the process by which I discovered them or the promise that there’s more great music out beyond the horizon. When I fall in love with an artist, their CD stays in my car for weeks or months. Their songs are on repeat in my Spotify (and now Apple Music) player.
So for me, and I imagine for most people, the problem has never been music discovery. I’ve got plenty of music-geek friends who can make solid recommendations. I like a lot of different kinds of music. I have a few go-to sources I can check online when I need to try something new. And we can all dip back into the past to mine the classics we missed, too.
No, the problem has never been music discovery, it’s finding enough time to fully appreciate the music I’ve already come in contact with. Or to put it another way, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never — that NOBODY can ever — hear it all, so I try to concentrate on having a deeper experience with whatever good stuff happens to cross my path. Quality, not quantity.
Read the whole article here. Thoughts?