In today’s media age, the ability to access any and all types of media at the click of a button is fueled by our immediate sense of need, laziness and an overwhelming, yet incredibly false, sense of entitlement. For the sake of keeping things simple to a world so hell-bent on obtaining opinions and information with little effort, let me clarify; this is about music and it does require some thought.
Long gone are the days of anxiously anticipating the record shop opening for the day so that you can run in and grab the release you’ve so patiently awaited. Instead, we find it necessary to go as far as stating that we don’t have time to visit record shops, yet we are willing wait outside the electronics store for twelve hours in the snow to get a flat screen TV for $100 off when they already have three at home.
The days of holding a copy of the album in hand, thumbing through the booklet, reading lyrics and/or gazing at album art in awe are reserved for what many would call the elitist. We’d rather have less “clutter” and not be “hassled” by the physical presence of music than to spend quality time with what we are listening to.
And then there is the almighty pirating of music. There are bands out there willing to give away their music. Some might give you the opportunity to “name your price.” Yet, people still come up with excuses to avoid paying for music. These are the same people who cannot shell out even a mere $9.99 for an album, but once a year line up with the masses to purchase the newest form of a $300 phone. Your excuse, yeah, it doesn’t hold water.
If you somehow feel “cool” by sitting at your computer, clicking a button, plugging in your headphones and hearing an album that cost money (online or in a store) without paying a single cent, I have news for you. “Cool” is the artist who sat down and poured their mind onto paper or picked up an instrument to craft something so original your brain would explode if you even attempted it yourself. “Cool” is the sound engineer who hasn’t slept in thirty-two hours because he is mixing and mastering the same track, but knows he has eight more to go. “Cool” is the independent record labels who put local shops to work printing shirts, posters, albums and stickers. This isn’t some after school statement, but pirating is not cool unless you’re Johnny Depp. And you are not Johnny Depp.
But you know what is even cooler than that? The exact moment when it all comes together; you hold it in your hand while the first song leads in and you realize that this exact moment was well worth the wait and price.
There is a simple solution to all of this. The solution is simply committing.
Commit to wait for that record to be released with the understanding that if they band wants it to be free, it will be free. If you can’t find value in spending a couple of bucks, maybe a little more than a cup of coffee, then maybe the music isn’t worth the money.
Commit to record stores. Don’t think you need to buy everything from a record store, in today’s world, that’s unrealistic. But when was the last time you browsed the store? When was the last time you had to ask the hipster behind the counter where a specific artist is? When was the last time you flipped through the cds or smelled the dusty jacket of used vinyls? Go spend twenty minutes of your time you’d normally spend watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to rediscover music.
Commit to checking out live shows. What is your excuse for not going out in public? Video games got you smelling a little ripe? Take a shower and get out. If you go to a bar, pay the cover charge and then stand around with your mates for two hours, why not do it where there is a live band or dj? Make it a point to pick a local show and go. The worst that can happen is you find a band you don’t like. Even then, after that experience, you at least have something better to talk about than how upset Steve is that Penny left him.
Clearly there are those who will shrug this off as a nonsensical rant and those who will claim they already do this. But if you’ve lost the magic and art of music, or you know someone who has, commit.