Is listening to music even cool anymore? Sure, everyone has their "workout playlist" or their "study playlist", but how many people really deep dive into things these days? Sadly, I think that video games have replaced music. I see kids having the same deep emotional attachment to certain games that their parents once had to certain albums. It's hard to compete with that dopamine rush.

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Sep 18Liked by William Collen

Interesting reflections! Providentially, I was also reflecting on music yesterday.

I purchased my first 45 (turntable speed, not caliber) in the early '70s and my first 33 (album) shortly thereafter. We occasionally listened to my grandparents' old-even-then 78s. I would record with cassette tapes via a microphone dangled over my AM radio, but the quality was terrible.

As such, I recall my music consumption habits (and thinking) being shaped by:

1) Awareness of imperfection, spoilage, and scarcity, and thus that one's experience was bound to be fleeting. Vinyl wears. Tapes break and degrade. I recall being fussy about cleaning records for dust, learning how to set the turntable needle super-carefully so not to scratch the record (this was before automatic tone arms were common). I got peeved if someone ran across a room, skipping the record, perhaps permanently. In nominal dollars, a "single" cost roughly a dollar... same as today. Which means that in today's (real dollar) terms a single (or any amount of music) cost many times as much as now.

2) Tight ties tie to time and location and thus the necessity to negotiate for playing resources. A few folks I knew had eight-track tape players in their cars, but everyone knew the format was doomed and that the quality was mediocre, and so therefore so was the selection. Headphones were wired. My fam had one turntable, one set of speakers, one set of headphones, and one cassette tape player. (We were upper-middle-class.) The resulting dynamic was like getting ice time for hocky or pool time for swimming. You took what you could get. Back then, a decade before the Sony Walkman, radio was the main portable format and that meant waiting and waiting and waiting until your song came on.

It strikes me that the character qualities all of this paucity required of us--patience, care, forbearance, recognition of others' needs, awareness of the fragility of things in this world, thankfulness for getting a modest amount of listening time for what one enjoyed--are great losses which have also degraded our cultural and familial cohesion.

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Sep 21Liked by William Collen

Great view on the future of streaming, and one I think more avid music listeners are considering in their day to day.

In my music listening journey I have considered using Youtube Music and Spotify together to navigate as Spotify tends to catalog in genre and Youtube Music can play videos, live performances, personal uploads or more unofficial or foreign pieces in a playlist format as well as create playlists and generate playlists like Spotify. If my listening searches were not as cataloged on Spotify I could see myself just using Youtube Music but there are some more personal touches that in my opinion make Spotify a worthy streaming endeavor.

I am constantly refining my searching habits. Streaming often feels like staring into a blank space that needs more human intuition, and as the web seems to shrink to a predominantly more marketable space I think a lot of great art and artists will continue to slip through the hands of even the most curious of listeners.

Your future predictions on music sharing and spaces of discovery do sound enjoyable and possible! I agree that playlists and intimate sharing pretty much beat any other form of discovery.

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Fripp, Bruford, King Crimson, and Yes? You should talk to my husband; you have similar musical tastes! I get excited every time I see such artists mentioned online because I know he'd get a kick out of it too. I don't see them come up often!

Also, I respect your daughter's affinity for 21st Century Schizoid Man. I can only hope my own future children will have such good taste. A phenomenal song from a phenomenal album by an amazing band

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