I know that this is a big ask for many of you, but try to turn back the clock and think of what life was like in the 60s/70s/80s. I know! Weird, right? It’s counter-intuitive. This kind of behaviour just doesn’t happen here. The silver-suited future-focussed, jetpack wearing, hover-boarding Massivistos du nos jours will never, ever look back. Always looking forward, chin cocked towards the horizon, eyes darting back and forth, forever searching for the sunrise. That’s us.
But, please, humour me just for a moment. Music critics in the past got all of their stuff for free whereas the rest of us had to pay for it. Buying an album for 5 quid to hear what it’s like is simply not done now. We *all* get to hear everything for free. In my teenage years, I was earning after tax about 50 quid a week. A few records and a gig or two was quite a financial commitment and I sometimes put in a lot of work to like something because I didn’t want to feel like I had wasted my time and money.
This kind of invested music appreciation is different to the record critic, who is sent a pile o’platters every day. Like the Spotify generation, new music is instantly available with no emotional or financial skin in the game at all. That changes their perspective and is most of the reason why you can’t take what they say seriously. We now have the same unlimited supply as the music critic. It’s an all you can eat buffet. Exciting at first, but before long you get the feeling that by having access to everything for free, you’ve lost the thrill of discovery and invested ownership.
I think this is what makes us different. There are records that I truly treasured when I spent my own sparse income on them. I was unimpressed by a long-established music industry people with massive record collections. All they did was keep and file away their freebies. If I hear something new, I still immediately wonder if I should go and buy it but I hardly ever do. Late last year, I started to listen to Savage – the Gary Numan album – from Spotify in the car. It’s triffic. P I think I have done my dash with it for now. By that I mean I listened to it straight through twice while driving and played two or three fave tracks again several times. Did I actually buy it? No. And that makes me feel sad.
When I bought Gazza’s “I, Assassin” album 35 years ago, I would have paid 5 quid for it and played all of both sides for a week at least. Repeat that process a few hundred times and that was what being a music fan was like.
So we all listen to music in the same way as music critics have done. Now that we have the keys to the sweetshop, does anyone else feel like the thrill of the chase has gone?