Is music a valueless product?
As someone who has spent most of his life inside music; I value what music has taught me, the things it has given me and the beauty and pleasure I get from listening to and creating music.
Regardless of what sort of music that comes along, and irrespective of how technology and society alter music, even if I became deaf like Beethoven, music has and always will change and move me. Even though today, the value of music seems worthless, for me, it's the most influential and important aspect of my world, outside of my family and partner.
As a music lover, one of the main aspects I love about music is its sound quality. Being able to hear every instrument and voice, the subtleties, the timbres, the highs and lows is essential to loving it.
I asked in my recent article, Am I a Composer? What is the value of a composer when streaming music sites rarely tell you who the composer is? Plus, I find the quality of streaming music to be some of the poorest low-quality sound that I have ever heard.
Streaming music has turned this amazing creation into another disposable product
Streaming unannounced music is worthless. It turns it into an expendable product, and it would not matter if you lost it. Streaming is changing the mindset of many people about the value of music. Streaming music is the thing you do when you are doing something else. It fills the background like wallpaper and carpet.
I was in a book club not so long ago, and when I went to some of the meetings, some people would have their mix of Spotify favourites on. It would be something like a mixture of light classical, smooth jazz, sweet pop, hip hop, ambient, electronic music and any other form you can think of. Not only has streaming made music a background experience, but, it is also jamming a range of styles together that were never intended to be heard one after the other. The context of these varying styles has also become a background effect.
You don't find this on the radio, at concerts or on TV, but, sometimes you do in the movies as scenes change; there it makes sense. Maybe that is how people want to hear music today. For me, it just bamboozles my mind. I can't adjust to the ever changing mood of the music that certain streaming sites offer.
No one's mood changes every three minutes
So why would anyone play different types of music from different genres all in a row? Music is there to highlight or alter your mood. Going from listening to Justin Bieber to Ella Fitzgerald and then Stravinsky or Vangelis just does not work for me. It confuses and annoys me.
I love music as I love good wine; music is not meant as an accompaniment to a conversation, or a discussion about books. Wine and food make conversation better. Being smothered in music from the Renaissance to a contemporary work confuses and distorts that conversation. I have to try and concentrate on shutting that music out so I can focus on the discussion.
Shutting music out is doing the opposite of what it is there for
Music is meant to be heard and listened to. You wouldn’t ignore your partner, (well, you might not for long) but many of us casually ignore the music, especially when it’s streamed. Do you do what I do when looking at instructional videos on YouTube that do not have a narrator? Do you shut the music off to concentrate on the actions in the video?
Not only is streaming music making us turn it off, music is carelessly used in almost every place and for every event. Too much music is as bad as too little.
If we continue to see the growth of streaming music simply because of its convenience and lower cost as opposed to buying a copy, we might get to the point where we one day have only AI and computer generated music. Because what’s the point of a composer making music if no one knows who is creating it, what it’s called, the context, or worst of all, actually listening to the music.