“The mix tape has given way to the playlist, shared with friends and strangers alike through social networks online. A generation has come to expect music to be digital formatted, often free for the taking, and endlessly shareable and portable”
In the words of Marshall McLuhan in Medium is the Message: “We look at the present through rear-view mirror.” The mix tape is derived from recording different songs onto a new tape so that a person’s favourite songs are all together. As technology developed we could record from CDs onto cassettes. Then with the digital age of MP3 and iTunes we could collaborate our music into a library and then a playlist which can then be burned onto a CD. The development of microchip technology meant that Walkmans were not used and instead replaced with iPods and MP3 players.
The iPod is essentially the most recent chapter in the story of music and technology. Whereas now Apple’s ‘genius’ mode creates playlists of music that is of a similar genre, fitting to a certain mood.
Youtube similarly has the ‘playlist’ tool to create an online library. But also, in a similar way to genius a user can find new music to add. Thus, widening the music industry. However, at the same time, Youtube is open to piracy, somewhat diminishing its originality.
Day in and day out on my Facebook feed I see what people are ‘listening to on Spotify’. Quite often it’s the same old Ed Sheeran tracks at the moment, but that only makes me reflect on how social media has meant that we do listen to the same music through digital sharing. One may say they’re listening to Ed Sheeran, then someone else might, creating a sort of ripple effect. This was not possible with the likes of CDs, cassettes of vinyls. The digital community also means that through networking sites such as Twitter fans can keep constant updates from their favourite artists.
But why do we need to be so connected all the time? Why do we have to collaborate the same playlists because of online trends?! I listen to music that is not as well known. I like listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and the likes of Judy Garland too. Naturally, I am in the loop of new music, but I don’t feel compelled to ever buy an album. The music industry is hit and miss for those that make the ‘big time’. A band makes a hit track and then someone else comes along, the first band changes their image to fit the new trends just to hold onto this hope of another top ten track. Makes you wonder whether they lose sight of their music that is supposed to be their ‘passion’.
Here’s a question: how often to you download a track, listen to it constantly and then a couple of months later, when you’re listening to your shuffle you skip over most of the tracks? It’s happened to me too often.
Stick to what you like.