You Will Never Listen to Every Song Ever Written

Altan Gocher/NurPhoto via ZUMA

Chris Richards writes today in the Washington Post that we are routinely “freaked out” about music. I’m not so sure about that, but let’s go with it. Here’s his explanation:

It’s distressing to be reminded that the world is filled with corporations that will work relentlessly to monetize every moment of our lives — especially because those moments are finite. And I think this is where our underlying angst over streaming originates. Listening to music on streaming platforms ultimately reminds us that there are lifetimes upon lifetimes of recorded sound that we won’t live long enough to hear.

Both of these statements are true. But they’ve been true for a very long time. They’ve been true of music, books, movies, sporting events, paintings, and just about every other form of art in existence. More than that, though, critics have been moaning about the commodification of art for as long as art has been around. Has anything really changed that much just because we now consume music through iTunes and Spotify?

That said, I’ll confess that the monetization of every moment of our lives really does seem a lot more obvious than it used to, and it can be both tedious and demoralizing. This is one reason I was never upset that the geekosphere failed to create a workable micropayments architecture for the internet. Do I really want to have make dozens of decisions, day in and day out, about whether I feel like spending a penny or a dime on something? No I don’t. I think we dodged a bullet there.


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