This morning I was talking to a friend of mine about a new single release by a French electronic band who hasn’t released an album since 2011. This band has a special place in my heart. I have seen them twice. Once in New York City; where my friend Neil and I flew to NYC, landed at 11am, toured New York all day until the concert, which started at 12 a.m. (Yes. Midnight.) Then we flew back home at 7 a.m. that same morning. I didn’t pack a bag and didn’t sleep for over 24 hours. The second time was in Atlanta and this time I went with Neil and my other buddy, John. It’s become a fun tradition between the three of us and we plan on seeing them on their next tour.
Anyway, I was talking to my friend John about the new single and I realized it had probably been a year since I listened to, or even thought to listen to, this band. How could that be? Really, a whole year? There are so many fun memories associated with this band… how could I have forgotten about them? So I started thinking about why that happened and I figured it out. Music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, etc.
Music streaming services have completely stalled the preservation of music for me. Don’t get me wrong, having access to essentially any song you want to hear is amazing most of the time, but for preserving music it is a disaster. I used to have an iPod packed full of music. To find a song I wanted, I would have to scroll through my endless library and see each artist as they went by. That process resulted in seeing the names of bands I hadn’t listened to in a long time. It would reinvigorate my love for them. There were so many times when I’d have a song in mind, but halfway down my artist list, I’d have a “Woah! I haven’t listened to this in forever.” moment.
With streaming services I have a song in mind and I go straight to it. Having the ability to do that is making the shelf life of artists and songs extremely short. In a year, I may not be able to remember the name of the song or even the name of the artist for a jam I blasted in my car 5 times a day during the summer of 2016. Another negative side effect of this is that I’m losing so many memories. My iTunes might as well be a giant home movie. You know when you hear a song and you’re immediately transported back to an amazing time and place. That used to happen all the time! Now it only happens in reverse. I have to somehow get to the memory first, which rarely happens, then search for the song. It’s a lot easier when you have a way to trigger the memory. We are living in a time where instant gratification is the norm. It’s great that I have every song at my fingertips, but what am I losing by not owning a hard copy or seeing it in my iTunes library everyday? The more I think about it the more I feel like I’m losing a lot.
Now living in the past in general is not a great thing to do, so I’m not saying cancel your memberships and daydream all day about being in high school, haha. I am just saying maybe revisit your vinyl, cd, and tape collections or your iTunes account every so often to remember some amazing artists, songs and memories just so you don’t lose them.
On this note, I’m thankful to say we have access to both “current” and “past” musical libraries in our studio. We’ve got Pandora streaming via touchscreen technology for when we just want to tap into a certain work mood on set, and on the flip side, we have started a record collection (and encourage clients, visitors, agencies to bring their favorites to spin on set!) for when we want to spin some vinyl and connect deliberately with an era from each of our lives.