Monday, 14 May 2012
Today’s Music Market like Fast-Food Consumption ... ?
Such an awkward title and yet so much of it seems to be true in our current times. This fast-paced, electronic, high-speed wireless world has sped up not only our internet browsing experience but more significantly, our musical appetites. We consume more and more fresh new music at such rapid speeds, moving on from song, to song, to song, as if music selection were a fast-food order and purchase. It’s as if YouTube, social networking sites and digital download portals have stretched and expanded the horizons of this musical age, like a mighty revolution no one can seem to slow down, not even the artists or the record labels themselves can stop the mighty machine of consumption technology has created. But of course, why would the music industry want to slow down the consumption rate, it is after all a business, and a business wants to make money. Lots of money. And with more record labels and publishing companies coming into existence, more artists gaining the spotlight and more new tracks hitting the market every single day world-wide, there is ultimately more competition that pushes the demand for each group to generate more sales, which means more and more music production. Songs can be sold individually now online for cheaper and that means more and more people can afford to buy more and more music.
But really, who is complaining. It seems to be a simple enough equation in which everyone is still benefiting and staying happy.
And yet I have to wonder. What ever happened to the kid who was so excited to walk into a music store (yes they still exist) and wait in a line-up to purchase his favorite artist album, who would then go home and savor every picture, every song, every lyrical phrase that band had worked so hard to construct? Is it just me or does it feel like somehow, in some odd way, maybe we used to value individual songs just a tad longer in the past than we do today? Was that mostly because it took artists longer to create full albums back then? Or maybe it took us more time to appreciate them considering the purchasing cost. After all, one would most likely buy the album in stores, not like today where you can purchase a song online for next to nothing (and dare I mention the illegal downloading that is crippling the music industry like a giant).
This is not to say that listeners today cannot feel the same satisfaction or value from a song that listeners of my generation did 10 years ago. Or to say that artists do not have the same joy in writing new music to keep up with a craving market as they did years ago when the hype took longer to build and consequently, the legacy longer to soak. Rather, this is all to say, that on the whole, there seems to be a greater demand, greater consumption rate of new music then ever experienced in history before.
Is this a bad thing? Depends who you ask.
I’ll leave it at that and let you, the reader, consume those thoughts.