Monday, October 24, 2011

The Day The Music Died

Now, I say "the day the music died," for a particular reason, one that struck me over the weekend as I was unloading the CD changer in my car, and wondering if I should get one of those cables to the Aux In plug from my iPhone.
I no longer listen to music. I listen to songs.
Music was dying, to be sure, for a long time. The advent of videos probably did it in, altho I suspect the culprit could go as far back as the rise of discos and clubbing.
No one listens to albums much anymore. No one listens to albums that are carefully designed musically to tell the listener a story, like "Sgt. Peppers" or "Days of Future Passed," or countless other albums from the 60s and 70s. It was a rare era, to be sure, paralleling only classical music and opera in storytelling.
Part of that is, with the advent of MTV (and the lack of electronic transmission) people just made crappy albums to put a framework around the one forgettable song in order to support the one-off tour that would support album sales that would eventually peter out as people realized it was just another shitty band with pretty faces.
The iPod just put the final nail in the corpse of that facade. Now bands could hand-pick a couple of songs and upload them to a server, and enjoy the profits off Apple's iTunes service. Or the listener could pick and choose songs he or she was familiar with, and upload those into the iPod and skip over any potential hidden gems that one sometimes heard with LPs, because, you know, to lift the needle risked scratching the album.
The iPod gave listeners a spiffy little device to stuff into a pocket and listen to songs. And if by chance you had a crappy song, you could rate it out of existence on your unit, or merely skip it and let the song count drop it down the charts like a Milli Vanilli comeback.
Music is dead. Long live music.