The pixies as a band passed me by. I was a little too young and a little too stuck in east Africa for their first few albums to make any impact on my life. However, the beauty of music streaming services now is that I can dig into all the rich history.
I sometimes wonder why as a society we make all this new music when there is so much to discover in the back catalogues. Maybe they should put a moratorium on new releases until everyone has caught up with listening to everything ever released to date?
Just an idea.
Is getting bored a good thing?
In the age of Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Fortnite it’s easy to let the system take control. If you allow them, these streaming, entertaining, dopamine tripping platforms will keep you glued to your seats all day. They won’t let you get bored.
This thing is, getting bored serves a function. As far as I can tell, the whole purpose and spiritual breakthrough of Yoga is to cope with boredom and through this to reflect on life. No time for that in a video game.
Some other activities where boredom is there to be overcome:
Taking a walk with no phone in hand. Just walk.
Listening to an album from start to finish. Just listen
Running for 30 minutes straight. Just run.
When were you last bored?
If you listen to music, you have chosen not to do something else. Sacrifice.
In western culture today the idea of sacrifice is often over dramatized. The words conjure up images of lambs slaughtered, pain, blood, sweat, tears. What is not often explained or acknowledged is how sacrifice happens every second of every day. It is fundamental to achieving anything. It is something we should get our heads around and I think it is something many of us deny exists.
With music and Hifi this means we must choose what to sacrifice in the quest for audio quality and listening. Perhaps we need to eat beans and water for a few weeks to afford those new speakers. Perhaps we choose to listen to an album rather than play sport or talk to our kids. You can have your listening room in the house, but you’ll need to give up on the big social lounge.
Everything is a sacrifice of some sort. And that is the dance we are all doing! 🐵🎧
If you are stuck browsing the internet through the bubbled lens of Twitter or Facebook. It all seems like evidence of people living the way you would like them to live, but it all seems so far away.
If this is you, it might be interesting to search for a someone near to you who is in sync with your point of view and then go and interact with that person face to face.
In terms of audiophiles, it is easy to surround yourself with the videos and images of instagram showing hugely expensive systems, all set up perfectly. However real life is a lot more messy. There are normal everyday people behind that industry, trying to make their music sound the best they can. Find a hifi store, a vinyl market, a local audio visual consultant and interact with them.
They might even need something you have to give, and away you go. You’re part of the community now, and away from the bubbles.
It’s not cool to care. Generally, those who care deeply about something are a pain in the butt for those who would rather brush over the details and move along to the next thing with as little fuss as possible.
If you are happy to take the music that is fed to you, that’s fine. Spotify has you covered. You will likely never annoy anyone with your opinions, the cost of your listening equipment, or the attention you give to the sound in your ears.
However, if you care about what you hear – if you appreciate the art involved in making a song, if you are curious about where a piece of music comes from or what is available that is not on the charts or in the format everyone is used to – get ready to meet some resistance.
Who is responsible for the music you listen to? And the interviews you hear? Who decides when your voice gets recorded or not?
In a post industrial world, we have more choice than ever as to how and when we consume things. Take your music streaming service of choice – it likely has ~50m songs to choose from at the tap of a button. This can be overwhelming, which explains the success of Spotify and its algorithms. These ‘tailored playlists’ take the responsibility away from you and the music you hear.
The idea of audio responsibility then, asks us to behave in a more engaged way around music and anything else we feed our ears.
A couple of tips to get started on the road to audio responsibility:
- Read about it before you listen to it. This forces you to be an active participant and it makes the experience so much more satisfying. Check out this book to get started: Link
- The equipment you use makes a difference. Headphones, amplifiers and speakers are the best places to start investing (responsibly) in your audio experience.
- Nobody knows what you want to hear better than you. Not even Spotify.
Here’s to taking responsibility. 🙂
I like nothing better than to lay some toys on the ground for the kids and put in a good record. After a long day hacking around chasing children, it refills the cup.