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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
It’s hard to think of a time when music was something that had to be go out and bought as opposed to a mere click away. Imagine: the new Kendrick Lamar or Drake album has dropped, but you’ve got to wait until school has finished to even think about hearing. Or maybe you can; some classmate of yours has a dad that works at the local record store and has managed to sneak it in, but everyone has to take it in turns to listen to it on the Walkman headphones. It seems at once irritating, the somewhat non-immediacy of it. But then again, it does have a certain charm - the build-up of anticipation, the feeling of ecstasy when you finally hear it. Or extreme disappointment when Drake puts out Scorpion.
Whilst streaming music at the time does seem like a heaven-sent, it does have its flaws. With the prevalence of playlists, the artistry of the album seems neglected. People very rarely listen to an album all the way through as vinyl would demand but instead pick a few of their favourites and collate them on their ‘favs’ playlist. Whilst some may see this a plus side to streaming – why listen to the entirety of the album if there are songs you don’t like? – we would do well not to neglect the importance of keeping the album art form alive. Much like a book, the album relies on means of immersion. Having disparate songs by disparate artists compiled into a playlist most of the time reduces them songs as serving a background music function. However, there are still some artists still championing the LP form of art, most noticeably Kendrick Lamar, whose magnum opus To Pimp a Butterfly and its predecessor Good Kid, m.A.A.d. city rely heavily on its audience listening from start to finish to grasp its story. Lack of importance in the album medium leads to albums like Scorpion a fusillade of 25 songs, most of them missing with the occasional hit.
But it’s not just the loss of the album that streaming catalyses, it’s also a taste setter. Whilst it is true that many people discover plenty of new music from streaming (just look at this generation’s varied music taste compared older), the new music we find is filtered through algorithmic means. This means that ‘discovering’ music isn’t so much about discovery as so much as positively reinforcing your taste.
However, it is without question that the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to music streaming services. Its key to remember that they are in their infancy; they can only get better, as long as we demand that they get better. And remember, vinyl is in its resurgence; whatever you love on Spotify, you can buy in real physical copy in real life. If you love their music, make sure you support the artist.
Image Credits: imore.com