The Brutal Truth: There’s Too Much Content

I have a giant stack of CDs in my office that I’m supposed to listen to.  I can’t because I’m still working my way through all the digital files that came into my inbox over the weekend.  They’ll have to wait because I’m still trolling through websites for news to write about here.

I’ve got ten Secret History daily features to write and record yet today plus I have to at least sketch out the next weekly SH show.  Twitter, Facebook and Google + need feeding.  And don’t get me started on email.

Later, I have two books to read in preparation for an interview I’m doing at Canadian music week.  I have an audio book that I’ve started.  I see that a new Q magazine has been delivered to my iPod, as has the new issue of Classic Rock.  And on my desk, I have two Mojos and three Record Collectors that haven’t been touched.

And that’s just the content consumption/creation side of things.  If you add up everything I need to accomplish today, there are 17 major items on my list. When am I ever going to get to all the content?

Let’s just declare it.  There’s too much.  Too much to read, listen to and watch.  That’s why I was relieved to find this article at CNET today.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give it a read.  I know it’ll usurp some valuable time, but at least you’ll feel a little vindcated.  And less alone.

It all started when I was at a bar and accosted by three women: a Stanford Hospital resident, a UX designer, and a wine distributor.

With faces more appalled than John Boehner’s when he has to meet the president, they simply couldn’t believe I’d never watched “Downton Abbey.”

“But you have an English accent,” the wine distributor offered, as the UX designer ordered a sixth beer.

“I have a bald head, but that doesn’t mean my house is full of Patrick Stewart posters,” was the best I could counter.

The truth, of course, is that I felt ashamed.

All the supposedly intelligent, NPR-listening, Bluebottle coffee-drinking people are watching “Downton,” (as they intimately call it) and I had no idea who has been killed off and why it’s so terrible.

The guilt doesn’t stop there.

I admit that some Netflix envelopes gather dust by my TV for months, not weeks. They’re like neglected puppies, bleating for a little attention.

And talking of Netflix, there’s “House Of Cards.” Everybody’s seen it, except me. I watched a preview, but where am I going to snatch the 13 hours required to bathe in its twisted intrigue?

What am I supposed to give up? Books? Movie theaters? LOLcats? Am I supposed to take aniPad with me everywhere and watch some neglected work of art, while I’m simultaneously having dinner with, say, a client or a girlfriend?

Continue 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.

5 thoughts on “The Brutal Truth: There’s Too Much Content

  • March 4, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Need one really good assistant that's as good as three (un)qualified assistants?

  • March 5, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I have over 100 unread items that are just music recommendations. I can handle piles of articles with Google Reader, especially with occasional downtime at work, but I rarely find the time to deal with all the music and videos that get posted to the feeds I follow.

    And I'd say "too much content" is really the true problem with the music industry these days. No one can afford to buy (and listen to) all the music the industry wants to be sustainable/profitable.

    The barrier to entry has dropped so low (with respect to recording and distribution costs) that there's just so much more (awesome) content available now than ever before. (There's also piles and piles of shit that occupies time sifting through it.) Never mind that it's not like great music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or 00s ever stopped being great either. It's just turned into an insurmountable mountain.

  • March 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Hi Alan,

    I totally feel your pain – from the other side of the fence! (I'm a musician in a band).

    It's taken enough blood, sweat and tears to get our album finished and onto iTunes, produce music videos and feed the content to our website and forever multiplying social networking sites – and that's just the bear minimum!

    Add to that the need to start making inroads into music blogs, podcasts and the press. (And somewhere in the middle of all of that – and doing a full-time day job – we're supposed to find the time to write and rehearse!) :-/

    The list is endless – and the lowered barrier to entry applies just as much to the online media as much as it does to artists.

    I don't know what the answer is but I promise when I do, I will come back and share it with you! ;-D

    One thing I've found really helpful, though, in controlling my overflowing inbox, is Merlin Mann's 'inbox zero' method (no, I don't work for him and I'm not an affiliate):

    Inbox Zero

    Basically, along with Google Reader, it's helped me get my inbox under control and feel slightly more on top of things. (It's a free video – so I'm not selling you anything).

    Anyway, you might find it helps you too.

    In the meantime, just know that we're all feeling this overload together – so you're not alone!

    Best wishes,



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