I’ll make this short and sweet. For several generations of Rock fans and especially the first generation, streaming services provide a valuable service. I won’t be getting into the royalty aspects of the services because it’s a different “song” to this article.
As we grew into Rock, we developed Peaches Records crates of favored bands. One of the roadblocks that we encountered was that physical media was all we had…and that cost money. As a result, we depended on radio (AM/FM) to give us as much as we could handle. Magazine print filled in the rest with suggestions. Nevertheless, many bands did not push through because there weren’t enough push to get them better interest.
Personally – and I think this applies to many – I couldn’t buy as many albums as I wanted to and I bought a lot…into the thousands. (That’s a lot of mown grass in several neighborhoods. If I wanted an album, I mowed grass and shoveled snow.) Nevertheless there were many bands that I had an interest in but could not afford the album, either because of being pushed out in favor of another, or not enough actual cash.
But now, with the arrival of streaming services, I have access to many of those that was I was unable to explore more deeply. And herein lies the reason that we should be thankful for streaming services, especially the HD ones, we can go back and relive our youth. Here we are, wanting opportunities to do it all over again. Streaming services allow us that opportunity. We can now listen to many bands that we were not able to during our youth, often in better than CD quality.
Weekly, I allow myself the opportunity to revisit a band I had to ignore. If I like what I heard, it gives me further opportunity to dive in deeper, and even to purchase CDs and LPs. Call it an effort. But it’s a pleasant effort.
I’ve not given up on collecting. Whether that be old vinyl, new vinyl, CD reissues, box sets, and such. But with streaming, I get to catch up and listen to bands I’ve never given too great of attention “back in the day”.
2 thoughts on “Be Thankful For Streaming Services: Here’s Why”
Sheesh – how did we ever cope, eh?
Just fine, as it happens. The fact is, we all with one or more constraints. Money is often a constraint, and as you say, back in Ye Olde Days when you could only afford one album per week, then you couldn’t very well sample everything. Except we did – we talked to like-minded friends and fans at gigs, in record stores, and at listening sessions in our homes. I never, ever, ran out of things to listen to back in the day.
But the primary constraint wasn’t really money, it was time. I only have so much time each week to listen to music. And I’m not talking about having something in the background, I’m talking about a listening session. This is my main problem – I want to hear that Led Zep album I love again, but at the same time something new, or Bowie, Faust, Richard Thompson or whatever your poison is. Since I’ve built a sizable collection over the years, I have these recordings already, with free access to them – what I don’t have is endless time to do so.
So you know what I don’t need? I don’t need MORE stuff to listen to, or to attempt to guzzle from the end of the firehose that is Streaming.
Now, I tried Streaming, and here was what I found. In no time flat I had hundreds of album in my list waiting to be heard. I’m an album guy, and my Wants are never-ending. So I started on that journey. Here was the end result:
1) The more time I was streaming, the less time I was spending with the music I KNEW I liked, because I already owned it.
2) My attention span for music shortened. If something isn’t fun after 60 seconds, why not move on to something else? Time is short, the list long, SKIP!
3) I began to gravitate away from albums, and more toward tracks. Why listen to a track on album that’s only a 5/10, when I can make a playlist of 10/10 tracks?
Once I recognized this, it was the end of my Streaming experience. I love albums. I’ve built a good collection of stuff I want to hear time and again. I want to hear albums from start to finish, and sometimes the tracks I liked the least first time around become favorites, sometimes the initial favorites wear off. In other words, the real value comes when you’ve lived with something a while. Streaming didn’t encourage this.
Which is not to say Streaming is evil, just that your post sounds like me when I first tried it. It quickly wore off though. I’d say that if you’re a young person, without a collection, Streaming is a Godsend, no doubt. I still worry the platforms encourage poor listening habits, but that’s a problem for another day. If I were, oh I don’t know, 16 years old, I’d be streaming. But for me, nothing can possibly replace physical media, and what it brings to the party. I own 1000’s of albums, I really don’t need another 50,000 (or whatever the number is) more albums to choose from.
And yes, I’ll miss some great things. But I would anyway, because there’s nothing I can do about that time constraint. Besides, when I’m missing that boat, I’m probably listening to something I know I like. I can’t get away from feeling that Streaming is more about consumption, and less about a love of music. But hey, it’s not 1970 any more.
Valid points. And accepted.
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