“Maybe I didn’t hold you, all those lonely lonely nights…”
Music has never been the huge part of my life that it is for some. Â (My oldest brother comes to mind, but then again he was a performing artist from his youth. Â But there are many others.) Â Even so, there were times when I spent more time (and money) on music. Â Over the last several years, this has waned. Â I wonder if this is because I am growing older, or because of my unique lifestyle, or because there just isn’t so much good new music anymore. Â That would conveniently explain why the recording industry experience steadily lower sales, even though online copying (“piracy”) is increasing.
“Wait, what do you mean, even though? Â Isn’t that the problem?” Â I mean what I say, because every study on the topic shows that people who download music illegally also purchase significantly more music than those who don’t. Â This is, as far as anyone can tell, by now a scientific fact, even if you don’t like it. Â Now it may be that they would have bought even more if they did not download, but this is not certain. It may be that they would have been exposed to much less music, and therefore have bought less. Â Nobody knows. Â But we DO know that they are your best customers, and you go out of your way to threaten them with unrecoverable ruin. Â Not some for-profit shop, but ordinary students and housewives. Â There is not a day, it sometimes seems, that your hate is not raining down on your best customers. Â Wonder why you sell less and less.
Then again, perhaps it is simply because there isn’t much good music. Â I certainly haven’t seen much lately, and it has almost all been either New Age or Japanese. Â Then again it could be just I who has changed. Â Although I hear it from other adults too. Â I suppose this could be part of growing middle-aged: Â The people who made your favorite music die or at least retire, and the kids these days just don’t measure up to the Great Old Ones. Â On the other hand, I will point out that the 90es was a bit of a high point for me in buying music, with a wealth of great Ambient, Trance and Euro-Dance to choose from. Ace of Base, Infinity and the sublime G.O.L. Â And at the same time we had the height of the Celtic wave represented by such stars as Clannad and the angelic-sounding Enya. Â Seriously, it was a time that could easily compete with my own youth, as far as I was concerned at the time. Â (Of course, arguably this WAS my youth, since I hadn’t been young much when I was young.)
Be that as it may, I haven’t had that much interest in music the last few years. Â I don’t like to have it on unless I can actually listening to it. Â I like silence better and better as the years pile on. Â I suppose that could be because of my lifestyle. Â I had a musical renaissance when I discovered Pandora (which soon after restricted itself to America) and later Last.FM which I still use somewhat, although I now mainly listen to my loved track now and again. Â With my forays into brainwave entrainment sountracks this spring, music faded almost completely. Â After all, when you can write directly to your brainstem, it kind of takes presedence, right?
Well, music has another chance, if a small one. Â This is thanks to the European music streaming service Spotify. Based in Sweden, it covers much of Europe, including non-EU member Norway. Â UK residents can listen to it freely, others will either have to pay a modest monthly sum (as I do) or receive an invitation and listen to some advertising. The invitation model is available currently in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Â France and Spain. Â It is not available outside Europe though. Â I guess that is fair. Â We don’t get Pandora, you don’t get Spotify.
As I am pretty sure I’ve said before, Spotify is a lot like having a million songs on your hard disk. Â You can stream any of them at any time, in any order, again and again. Â Not like other “Internet radio” Â stations where you at best can give a general guideline for what you want to hear, and skip tracks you don’t want to hear. Â This is more like your own harddisk. A very big harddisk full of music.
Unfortunately none of this music is Japanese or New Â Age, so it is not really worth paying for, for me. I do so anyway, because unless it drains me too badly, I like to spend money on things that I wish to encourage, things I want to be part of the future. Â This is it. Â In fact, many years before the coming of the Internet, I wrote a science fiction story in which people anywhere on the planet could listen to any music they wanted at any moment, beamed to them from a network of satellites. Â These days, the Internet is almost that omnipresent. Â And indeed, I use Spotify with wireless network at work, although I have no idea whether the signals have passed through a satellite at any time on their way to me. Â They combine peer-to-peer when feasible with a server fallback. Â It is highly reliable and faster than piracy!
Lacking my first choice in music, I have instead revisited some ballads from my earlier layers of music interest. For some obscure reason, one of them have stuck for some days now. I think you call this “earworm” in English. That actual song is Always on my mind, which I know from Chris de Burgh’s album Beautiful Dreams. This is one of the few times when he sings a song not made by himself. Â I may have heard it performed by Willie Nelson before that, possibly but probably not Elvis Presley. Â (I mean, he did sing it, but I never listened much to Elvis.)
Anyway, this song keeps repeating in my head, except the voices in my head has subtly altered it. Â The line that reads “Give me one more chance to keep you satisfied”? Â Yes. It now says “Give me one more chance to keep you Spotified.”
And that is my message to you, dear readers. Â I happen to have 6 spotify invites lying around, so if you live in one of the countries listed above and for some inscrutable reason don’t have one, mail me. Â Give me one more chance to keep you Spotified. Â Chances are you will enjoy it more than I do.