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“Did technology kill good music?” Discuss

One of my favourite quotes about music (and dammit, I can’t remember where I read this, so sorry for not attributing it) is “Every generation has a biological right to think the music of their youth is the best music ever made.” I want you to keep in mind as you read this article from Stephen Carlisle at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University.

A recent study suggested that young people had better recall of music from the 90s and before than they do for material from the last couple of decades. Some people suggest this means that today’s youth prefers the music of other generations than that of their own. Let’s pick things up with the article.

“My only portal to the current situation is through my sons, currently 21 and 19. They should be in their prime music consuming years, but they prefer the classics. One son has his Sirius XM channel set to the 80’s channel. The other surprised me by singing along to a song while we were in a pub in Dover, England. When I said I didn’t recognize the song, he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. It was Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I have a lot of Queen in my music library, but “Don’t Stop Me Now” was not one of them. So wherever he heard it, he didn’t hear it because of me.

“That same son got in my car one day and begged me to play “Roundabout” by Yes, a song that was released 26 years before he was born! Is there something to the “musical quality” argument after all?

“This line of thinking does make me a little uneasy. It has all the hallmarks of a cranky old guy yelling ‘Get off my lawn. And turn that awful music off. It sucks.’

“But my oldest son has company. He is the anchor of the sports talk show at a major Florida university. He and his fellow broadcasters came down to South Florida to cover a football game, and stayed at our apartment. They were universal in their dislike of the music that the student DJs played before the show, and thought that it hurt the potential audience for the show. All of it was modern stuff, being released today. So I asked them, ‘What should be played instead?’

“They all had the same answer: “Classic Rock.” “If we could just get them to play Queen and Aerosmith.”


“What can we say for sure? We know that songs are getting shorter, and the consensus is that streaming is to blame.”

The rest of this is worth reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38164 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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