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Ämne: The past, present and future of listening to music

  1. #1
    Medlem
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    Standard The past, present and future of listening to music

    So the question came up in the Hits thread and I thought it would be interesting to hear what everyone here does. This is a great comment by Kurvitz and I wanted to expand on it.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av Kurvitz Visa inlägg
    So... the everlasting question of XXI century music fandom: how do I buy these? What are your plans for getting your hands on a copy? Do you press your own vinyl out of narval-horns as I usually do to get a legal copy. After ca 2005. It's not like I can just pay to download it in flac. Okay, sarcasm aside -- how do you guys plan to get these off stupid Spotify and at the end of your kent collection?
    Personally, I use Spotify as a filter for all the stuff I read on music blogs. From there I have everything catalogued by year and genre. That means if I need to find anything I generally just go there and check it out first. And if I'm honest 90% of my music is collected there now, and I don't buy the physical thing any more.

    I am a convert to "digital" music, in so much as I don't mind buying MP3's. It took a while to get used to having no book, but in most cases it makes sense. Although it does look that for better and for worse, streaming is very much the future. I still buy CD's for in the car, but that is a fading completism that makes me pick up CD's by bands I own everything by. When that stops, I suspect my CD days will be over too. I had a subscription to eMusic which in its heyday was an unbelievable deal. Essentially you could download and keep about 5 albums a month for not much money. The "catch" was that they artists were all on smaller labels, which if you have any taste is actually a massive plus. And the thing that Spotify does really well is catering for a "mood" rather than say a specific artist you want to find. It's strength is letting you find stuff.

    If letting you find stuff is the pro, then there must be a con. I think that is collecting stuff, and filtering through the vast and endless online archive of every recorded thing ever (or thereabouts.) "Digital" music really lacks a sense of collection, which is a big deal if you care about that sort of thing. Once it becomes a bunch of files on a hard drive, there is no good way of making that replace a big shelf in your house full of discs, vinyls and whatever. If it could do that, to be honest, I'd never use a physical format again. It's a bit like how (research says) that people take paper books in much more than they do eBooks. That is partly because of the format. But I wonder how much of that is down the the psychology of having about a million books on a kindle, or a few carefully selected books you love on a shelf.

    I'd like to see the streaming services move towards a micro payment service where eventually you can own a digital copy of the highest quality at that time (but with bottomless updates when the formats inevitably change.) So instead of paying 10 per month, you could pay 15 and then own 3 albums. Something like that. For me now, we're at a crossover point. Until "digital" music becomes ubiquitous everywhere (home, TV, car, etc etc) other formats still hold sway in certain areas. And the appeal of analogue formats like vinyl will continue as more and more of our lives are digitized.

    What I love about all of this is that for all the talk of format, the album is still as strong as it ever was. I remember loads of bands in the late 00's predicting its demise because the new era meant people "only listen to individual tracks." Well, you could have fooled me. People still release and listen to albums, including almost every cutting edge artist out there. Those who have tried to move away from it have largely failed miserably, partly because the album affords the artist. Perhaps that's because although the industries might value digital disruption, people simply aren't ready for their 12 songs every few years to be disrupted. The album is still a pleasure, even if the way we listen to it has changed.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
    Senast redigerat av .namnlös den 2016-09-19 klockan 00:14.

  2. #2
    Medlem stjärnors avatar
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    Interesting topic!

    I will begin this by stating that I'm not as big a consumer/ buyer/ listener of music as I was in my teens and early 20s. I don't often actively seek out new styles, bands, etc. Someone may recommend something to me, or I'll hear something playing on the radio, etc. and that may make me investigate further. One of the reasons I put this down to is lack of time. I work long days, with my shifts ending in the evening, so I only really have a couple of hours before bed to do stuff or relax. When I worked in an office we had the radio playing all day, everyday. We'd bring CDs in, we'd give an artist a try on Spotify (back when free accounts only had 20 hours per month), so I had more exposure to new music and artists then.

    I used to be very much in the 'still buying CDs' category until I got my speaker dock about 2 years ago. My hi-fi was slowly dying, the cd player was skipping and I never used the minidisc(!) in it any more. I'd buy CDs and burn them to MP3s because I liked owning the physical copy of the music. I'd play the CDs at home and listen to the MP3s on my old smart phone/ iPod whilst travelling.

    Now with my speaker dock, it's much easier just putting that on and playing an album, or simply shuffling the whole damn lot. I really, really cut down my CD collection a few years ago, so while I've still got some (the faves, certain bands/ artists), I no longer actually buy CDs when I buy music. EXCEPT for kent. This was for 2 reasons, they are my fave, and also for the fact that it's just that wee bit harder/ less convenient to get a hold of them outside Scandinavia. I guess I was always mentally preparing for the day they no longer existed when I bought the CDs. I knew that at some point way in the future they might go out of print. And by having the CDs, I've always got a back up should my laptop and back up drive both fail, and I've lost all the MP3s! However, it was only the other day that I realised that while I bought the DSNFA vinyl on holiday, I forgot to buy a CD of it! Bengans in Stockholm is a smaller unit than it used to be. And it now mostly stocks vinyl. Row after row of it. With a few racks/ tables of CDs and DVDs. It says a lot of where they see music buyers heading by investing in so much vinyl.

    Streaming/ Spotify, etc. I'm still a very low user of this. I'll use it to check out a new artist, or an album by someone I've heard a song by. I might then go on and download their album or song. A couple of times it's came in handy especially with kent as it might take a few hours, or a day or 2 before new stuff is available on itunes, amazon, etc. The most recent heavy use was repeated listenings to Coldplay's 'A head full of dreams' as I refused to pay Amazon more for the download than what they were charging for a CD & download together. I didn't want to buy the CD because I wouldn't play it- and that would be a waste of a CD!

    In recent years I've picked up a few kent albums on vinyl. (JÄIRFM, Tigerdrottningen, DSNFA & Röd) I don't have a record player. I don't intend on getting one. I simply love holding the physical weight of them in my hands. And the artwork! Oh, to see artwork at a decent scale and not on my laptop screen. It is just beautiful!

    I really do like how fans and the music industry are waking up (and/or cashing in!) to the fact that while some people are heavily into streaming music, they might also want something to hold- and vinyl fits that perfectly. Buy a picture shelf from IKEA, buy your fave albums and display them like art. WIN, WIN! The artist (and record company) gets a nice chunk of your money, and you have a cool reminder of what might actually be in your invisible record collection. Or you know, get a record player and experience the feeling of actually putting music on to play!

    Personally, I can't believe how far we've come in the last 15 years. A complete turn-around with vinyl on the up and CDs in decline. Streaming of music for me represents an ok (but not great) middle ground in that artists get some money from it. (I am and always have been adverse to illegal downloading of music. Bands should be paid for their work), but the sheer range of what's instantly available out there can make it difficult to know where to start. MP3s give you something to own and have, albeit a non-physical version.
    coloursatnight

  3. #3

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    Citat Ursprungligen postat av .namnlös Visa inlägg
    I'd like to see the streaming services move towards a micro payment service where eventually you can own a digital copy of the highest quality at that time (but with bottomless updates when the formats inevitably change.) So instead of paying 10 per month, you could pay 15 and then own 3 albums. Something like that. For me now, we're at a crossover point. Until "digital" music becomes ubiquitous everywhere (home, TV, car, etc etc) other formats still hold sway in certain areas. And the appeal of analogue formats like vinyl will continue as more and more of our lives are digitized.
    This. I am trying to transition to consuming music, books and movies digitally instead of buying physical copies. I just think it is more enviromentally friendly to consume something that was not factory-made on the devices I already own. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule and one is kent.

    Kent is the only band that I buy physical CDs from, otherwise I stopped with the format. I buy everything else I like in iTunes instead. If it's something that I like to listen to from time to time but don't love enough to purchase, then Spotify is my to-go app. I don't have a premium subscription anymore as I felt like I was not using the services I am paying for. I am very particular with the music I listen to. I don't like background music, so it has to catch my attention, hold my focus, the lyrics should be enjoyable and the singer must have a voice I love. I don't usually listen to instrumental music, as it tends to fade into the background, but there are some tracks that I do love and inspire me. I also use youtube sometimes, as some of the bands I like are not on spotify.

    As for discovering new music, I don't actively search for new music and I am as uninterested in "suggestions", whether they are made by a person or an engine, as one can be. Therefore the vast amount of music available doesn't really confuse me. I don't feel the push to go and explore. But I'm sure it can be overwhelming if you are actively looking for new bands all the time.
    My main source instead is soundtracks of movies. If I like a song, I usually look up the band, listen a few songs on spotify and decide if I'm interested enough in purchasing, or will just be listening small time. Voting with my wallet, basically.

    The other exception is vinyls. I love vinyls. I try to be as minimalistic as possible, so my collection is very small. Other than kent, I only have "classics", AC/DC, Bowie, Queen etc and some movie soundtracks. I just love the sound from a record player, the ritual of putting on and changing the records, it just feels warmer and more real than listening to an mp3. Also, it's nostalgic for me. When I was 4-5 years old, I inherited my uncle's record player and records (he died very young, only 32 years old and he had a huge collection of 70's and 80's music) as noone else in the family was interested in them. As they were value to noone, I was left to play around with them as I wanted, and I guess I took pretty good care of the stuff despite my age. The player broke when I was 11 and with no money to replace it, I was without vinlys for a long time. Then a few years ago I bought a record player and fell in love again.

    As for the album format, I think good bands benefit from it, but average bands don't. Back in the 90's, you could put two single quality songs on an album and the rest could be filler. Nowadays, if you have only two good songs, people will buy only the two. I also think that the album format separates the fans from the casual listeners. Fans invest in the albums, people who listen casually will only get their favourite songs.
    An artist I like had a period recently where they released a few songs very close to each other in time. I admit I haven't even listened to all of them. I found it tiresome with the too many "updates" and it was like reading the weekly updates of a work in progress fanfiction. After the third songs, they felt too loose, I couldn't find the context, had no feeling of unity. I really hope this is not the way we are transitioning to and "fast consume" everything instead of taking the time and enjoying it fully. It is a very alien concept to me.

    PS: On an unrelated note, I have a few carefully selected books I love on my ebook reader as well. It is easier to delete a book I didn't enjoy than trying to get rid of a physical book I didn't like without feeling like I'm burdening someone with a bad book. I do still keep my "hall of fame" books around in physical format, just because I feel good when I look at them. It's a joy to be surrounded by things you love.
    Jag har bara alla mina jävla ord
    Alla de där stora tomma orden

  4. #4
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    Cheers for your thoughts folks! Really interesting reading.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av stjärnor Visa inlägg
    Personally, I can't believe how far we've come in the last 15 years. A complete turn-around with vinyl on the up and CDs in decline. Streaming of music for me represents an ok (but not great) middle ground in that artists get some money from it. (I am and always have been adverse to illegal downloading of music. Bands should be paid for their work), but the sheer range of what's instantly available out there can make it difficult to know where to start. MP3s give you something to own and have, albeit a non-physical version.
    Yeah the money is a problem. It always has been. I believe the story was every CD sold about £1 made it to the artist, hence the pressure to sell millions of the things for a decent pay packet. Sadly with streaming it's even less. That said, I believe that in most cases buying merch and gig tickets is by far and away the most effective way of keeping a band up and running.

    It's interesting to see the change happening. I think in music especially the format has always been a sticking point because of quality and so on. Technically what should happen is a move towards uncompressed lossless music straight from the mixing desk. Kent did this with På Drift if I remember correctly. The uncompressed thing is like listening in 3d!

    I started with MP3s in earnest back in 2009, partly because at the time it was actually cheaper than buying CD's in many cases. But in a way I'm now peaking with digital fatigue and probably need a way to contextualise my collection. I'm interested to see what happens with Apple music, as Spotify push towards the "bottomless music" model. If Apple find a way of giving you a collection and streaming side by side (which I assume Apple music is), then I would be intrigued to check that out.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av jazzpurist Visa inlägg
    This. I am trying to transition to consuming music, books and movies digitally instead of buying physical copies. I just think it is more enviromentally friendly to consume something that was not factory-made on the devices I already own. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule and one is kent.
    I’ve always wondered about this. In fact, it wasn’t so much music or books that got me thinking about it. In fact it was an email. You know those ones that say “think before printing this email….” And I thought, “which is worse? an email sat on a hot server in a desert somewhere pumping out heat, or just printing it the once and deleting it?” Again, it’s the “bottomless” aspect of digital life that is quite unquantifiable. Is it better to have MP3’s on your computer or MP3s in a big data centre that we all use? I imagine there isn’t a simple answer.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av jazzpurist Visa inlägg
    As for discovering new music, I don't actively search for new music and I am as uninterested in "suggestions", whether they are made by a person or an engine, as one can be. Therefore the vast amount of music available doesn't really confuse me. I don't feel the push to go and explore. But I'm sure it can be overwhelming if you are actively looking for new bands all the time.
    I had this conversation with a friend. I tried to figure out why the whole new music thing works less and less as you get older. This is my theory:

    When you’re young, everything sounds new because you naturally have no point of reference. So “finding” new stuff doesn’t need to happen. The first time you hear a band you think “MY GOD HOW EXCITING!” But as you grow old, your favourite bands get tired, some will quit, or others will go downhill. Then finding new stuff becomes that bit harder, because you have a point of reference. So you know what the influence for the "new" sound of that latest hipster band is. For example, everyone knows Muse have tried to become Queen. Before that they were actually fairly original. As you get older, the magic fades and hits you less and less often (and my friends are super lazy, so it’s hardly surprising hah!) The only way to navigate this (in my view) is to have a few selected but high quality reference publications, and to systematically work through what you hear. Put that stuff into mental categories like “good” “really not good” etc and then persist a little bit and the magic is still there. So it still happens, but you have to work for it, which is less serendipitous I'll admit.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av jazzpurist Visa inlägg
    As for the album format, I think good bands benefit from it, but average bands don't. Back in the 90's, you could put two single quality songs on an album and the rest could be filler. Nowadays, if you have only two good songs, people will buy only the two. I also think that the album format separates the fans from the casual listeners. Fans invest in the albums, people who listen casually will only get their favourite songs. An artist I like had a period recently where they released a few songs very close to each other in time. I admit I haven't even listened to all of them. I found it tiresome with the too many "updates" and it was like reading the weekly updates of a work in progress fanfiction. After the third songs, they felt too loose, I couldn't find the context, had no feeling of unity. I really hope this is not the way we are transitioning to and "fast consume" everything instead of taking the time and enjoying it fully. It is a very alien concept to me.
    Really good point about the 90’s thing. I also suspect this is why there has been a rise in really good EP’s. Just look at someone like Robyn. Since her last album she’s done loads of collaborations and stuff, but as little “blips” rather than committing to a full album. It works in the sense that it’s a bit of fun for the artist (keeps them fresh) and there’s enough material for the fan. I like the band Ash, and they tried doing a year of only singles (that’s not the band you mean is it?) Well, yeah. It just didn’t work. They fell of the radar because the album gives artists a solid year of promotional opportunities. But “we’ve released a song again this week” is much much harder to sell to fans and to the radio stations. They went from being a 2000 fans a night band to an 800 fans a night band almost immediately with that move. I think short EP's might become even more popular, but if "cutting edge" artists are still using the album format I' suspect it will be around for a long long time to come.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av jazzpurist Visa inlägg
    PS: On an unrelated note, I have a few carefully selected books I love on my ebook reader as well. It is easier to delete a book I didn't enjoy than trying to get rid of a physical book I didn't like without feeling like I'm burdening someone with a bad book. I do still keep my "hall of fame" books around in physical format, just because I feel good when I look at them. It's a joy to be surrounded by things you love.
    Weirdly, I still think paper books are the way to go. I think the slight difference is that with music the format (when you’re listening) plays less of a roll now. But the book is the format if that makes sense. So in a way, I doubt until eBooks improve significantly to replicate the book experience, that will remain that way. I can imagine that in certain circumstances a digital book works, but for now I’m sticking with paper…..
    Senast redigerat av .namnlös den 2016-09-20 klockan 10:03.

  5. #5

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    Citat Ursprungligen postat av .namnlös Visa inlägg
    I think in music especially the format has always been a sticking point because of quality and so on. Technically what should happen is a move towards uncompressed lossless music straight from the mixing desk. Kent did this with På Drift if I remember correctly. The uncompressed thing is like listening in 3d!
    Oh, that uncompressed version of På Drift. <3

    I would be willing to pay extra for that quality. Of course, most people just listen on their phones and for them it’s no use to have a lossless file as the difference on crappy earphones is marginal. (I also listen to music on my phone sometimes when I travel, but I’ve nearly stopped doing that after I bought my amp/speaker set and studio headphones. It’s just not the same.) As long as talking about audio quality is considered nerding, I don’t think there will be demand enough to make such releases profitable.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av .namnlös Visa inlägg
    I’ve always wondered about this. In fact, it wasn’t so much music or books that got me thinking about it. In fact it was an email. You know those ones that say “think before printing this email….” And I thought, “which is worse? an email sat on a hot server in a desert somewhere pumping out heat, or just printing it the once and deleting it?” Again, it’s the “bottomless” aspect of digital life that is quite unquantifiable. Is it better to have MP3’s on your computer or MP3s in a big data centre that we all use? I imagine there isn’t a simple answer.
    The thing with digital vs physical is that it’s hard to quantify the environmental impact of them. Producing a kindle makes more harm than the production of more than 1000 books. On the other hand, if you already have a tablet that you already use for other purposes, you actually reduce your environmental impact by going paperless. I mainly filter my purchases with digital releases. I buy it digitally and if it’s something I really really love, I get a physical copy. It’s a win win situation. The artist/author gets paid twice and I only have items around me that I absolutely adore. It’s also a huge waste of money for some, but I consider it giving a tip for outstanding service.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av .namnlös Visa inlägg
    I had this conversation with a friend. I tried to figure out why the whole new music thing works less and less as you get older. This is my theory:

    When you’re young, everything sounds new because you naturally have no point of reference. So “finding” new stuff doesn’t need to happen. The first time you hear a band you think “MY GOD HOW EXCITING!” But as you grow old, your favourite bands get tired, some will quit, or others will go downhill. Then finding new stuff becomes that bit harder, because you have a point of reference. So you know what the influence for the "new" sound of that latest hipster band is. For example, everyone knows Muse have tried to become Queen. Before that they were actually fairly original. As you get older, the magic fades and hits you less and less often (and my friends are super lazy, so it’s hardly surprising hah!) The only way to navigate this (in my view) is to have a few selected but high quality reference publications, and to systematically work through what you hear. Put that stuff into mental categories like “good” “really not good” etc and then persist a little bit and the magic is still there. So it still happens, but you have to work for it, which is less serendipitous I'll admit.
    I think that there is another factor in discovering new music: the right thing at the right time. When you are in just the perfect mood for the song you hear. Maybe on any other day you wouldn’t even think about twice, but right now, this is the best thing in the world. Otherwise you would be like: great band, but nah, I know so many other great bands. But at the right time you realize that the band has the little extra you are always looking for and the magic happens.

    My points of reference in music are way different from most of the others on this part of the forum, I guess. I looked at the suggestions thread and while I was familiar with 90% of the bands mentioned, only Einsturzende Neubauten have the extra I am always looking for. For me, kent is not the reference point, but the odd one out. I usually go for a much more raw sound, but what kent lacks in that, they make up for it (and completely exceed it) in raw emotions. So most stuff thrown at me in media, on the internet, is way too ‘mainstream’ (hipster warning) for my taste. And I’m not really into heavy metal, which is the raw mainstream. So the exposure is limited, my taste in music is mostly defined by ‘bands that have the little extra’ instead of a certain genre, even if I have a preference in sound. The other side is, there is no band like kent, nothing compares and nothing will ever compare. I don’t want a replacement, a cheap substitution. I want the real stuff and the rest I listen to is very different from them, and I like it that way.

    Citat Ursprungligen postat av .namnlös Visa inlägg
    Really good point about the 90’s thing. I also suspect this is why there has been a rise in really good EP’s. Just look at someone like Robyn. Since her last album she’s done loads of collaborations and stuff, but as little “blips” rather than committing to a full album. It works in the sense that it’s a bit of fun for the artist (keeps them fresh) and there’s enough material for the fan. I like the band Ash, and they tried doing a year of only singles (that’s not the band you mean is it?) Well, yeah. It just didn’t work. They fell of the radar because the album gives artists a solid year of promotional opportunities. But “we’ve released a song again this week” is much much harder to sell to fans and to the radio stations. They went from being a 2000 fans a night band to an 800 fans a night band almost immediately with that move. I think short EP's might become even more popular, but if "cutting edge" artists are still using the album format I' suspect it will be around for a long long time to come.

    Weirdly, I still think paper books are the way to go. I think the slight difference is that with music the format (when you’re listening) plays less of a roll now. But the book is the format if that makes sense. So in a way, I doubt until eBooks improve significantly to replicate the book experience, that will remain that way. I can imagine that in certain circumstances a digital book works, but for now I’m sticking with paper…..
    No, I didn’t mean Ash, it was a female artist, who I don’t want to ‘diss’ with name, as I admire her work very much, despite her weird marketing.

    As for paper books, I was thinking for a long time the same way you do, but as I wrote above, I now use digital releases as filter for physical ones. If I liked the book so much that I plan on reading it again and again, I get the paper copy and enjoy the hell out of it. Otherwise, where is the delete button? But I guess I’m also influenced by the fact that I write (nothing worthy to be published, it’s just a hobby of mine), and I found myself being a hypocrite about writing and reading a lot of stuff digitally while harping on about how paper is superior.
    Jag har bara alla mina jävla ord
    Alla de där stora tomma orden

  6. #6
    Medlem
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    Jazzpurist, I think I am coming around to your way of doing things. I looked today at my collection. Some of it it is in iTunes, some of it is in CD form. Both feel quite unloved at this point in time! But not only that, the window for buying CD's is shrinking by the day. A friend of mine bought a new car, and it was literally days later when he noticed it didn't have a CD player. As I said in my earlier post - at this point it feels like the format is becoming less important in many ways. Instead, having access to "your music" is the focus of the music industry.

    But I slowly started to realise that as I've mostly streamed for a few years, I lack that sense of collection. I don't have those albums I pore over as much as I used to and that's because I use Spotify and streaming to almost "manage" the influx of new stuff. So it's time for a little rethink... I know what my favourite albums are, but it's just a case of using one format more than another.

    So I'm thinking of going back to actively purchasing albums in iTunes. I will need to spend a while tidying my iTunes up as before it became a digital dumping ground pre 2012. Then I'll start picking up the albums I've missed purchasing over the past 3-4 years in the digital format. I'll still keep Spotify (though Apple music is tempting) and I'll need to find new ways of playing my stuff. But at least that way the band will be supported and my own collection will resemble something like a record collection again...

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