Just What You Need: More Internet Music

Stick here, Bunker deep.

Today, I got wind of Spotify’s arrival Stateside. In case you are not acquainted, Spotify is the latest Internet music site to end all Internet music sites. It’s been thriving in Europa for a while, and apparently became Yankee-friendly on July 14. Basic idea seems to be that you can search for and play selections from millions of tunes, all for free, provided you don’t mind a narrow sound quality and some ads in your face. A few bucks a month relieves you of that burden. Seems like it’s been done before, but there’s supposedly something better under the hood this time.

I can hardly offer a review of the thing – Myself and the rest of the Pop Survivor swabbos have only just signed up and crossed the threshold, but the initial results were promising: As Litmus, I searched for, and found, Australia’s Greatest Band of All, The Motor City Sound From Down Under, some would say the Pappy Boyingtons of Aussie Punk, that’s right… Radio Birdman. A decent selection of The Birdman was located in milliseconds, offering first evidence that this might be a useful toy, at least until we’re distracted for the three seconds it takes to forget about something on the Internet (and don’t say “Like your blog”, Jocko).

See, I find all this ease-of-content related to Internet music sites to be a little disconcerting. And by ‘a little’, I mean ‘it’s starting to depress me beyond the point where reasonably-priced drugs can help’.

Exploring music, thus nurturing our addictions, used to involve a hunt that was in itself a satisfying thing. You’d catch the last half of some great new release on the radio and the mystery of it would take hold before anything else. Then the bugs would start to crawl up your spine – Who was that? What was the name of that tune? What stratagem shall I use to sooth this itch? These days, though, you breathe six notes of what you recall into an iPhone and the song you heard in the car is in your digital stash 5 seconds later. Is that really rewarding? Isn’t the anticipation and slow discovery part of the rush? And how long do you treasure the downloaded song? Until dinner? Maybe.

The Stick is no Luddite, and has the iTunes bill to prove it. But the insta-touch approach to music searching seems to yank stones from a damn, and much faster than is healthy for the valley below. You came to the Net to find a song you just heard or one you remember from way back, and before you know it, you are so flooded with options of songs to either play or download that you can’t recall why you opened the laptop in the first place. Playing the first 10 seconds of one tune from the thoroughly busy interfaces of iTunes, Pandora, or whatever-the-hell-it-is entices us to play something else. And RIGHT NOW. As if that little button was gonna disappear forever.

Music, like baseball, has the ability to teach us patience, and to show the value of the elusive. But how can it when everything is at our fingertips, and we’re hopping from tune to tune like a frog on Bennies? The ultra-quick fix can reduce music to White Castle. The more there is in front of you, the cheaper it is, the easier it is to root through, the more disposable it becomes. Somebody, supposedly, poured their guts into that tune, and we can move it in and out of our lives with three mouse-clicks. Don’t seem entirely right, does it?

But summer-sweat-soaked sofa philosophy aside, sites (okay, apps) like Spotify might be beneficial to blogolas like Pop Survivor. Maybe it’s just the thing for hipping you all to something worth your attention – and vice versa.

You hip to this thing? If so, advise The Stick. How can those of us in this small crusade wrench this tool into our own fists for the better good? That is, without reducing my bully pulpit to the pitfalls of social media.

Anti-social media, that’s what we need. Thin the herd a little.

– Mr. Stick, like I told you already, boy.

Current album – Miles, Live Evil

*Ever notice how we don’t mind referring to ourselves as Yankees in matters of international diplomacy, yet most of us – right-thinking people anyway – hate the pin-striped Yankees more than we hate syphilis?

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