Originally Posted by topleybird
I have seen the argument, particularly about movies but it applies to music as well, that there used to be a thrill and some clout, as the kids say, about tracking down a difficult to find, VHS-only copy of some cult film from India that you finally found in a Japanese porno tape catalog you had to have a friend translate, and you ended up paying like $350 for the tape for some reason and it arrived eight months later in a box so beat to shit you had like a 30% chance of being able to play the tape, and if you did you'd see that it was like a tape of a tape of a tape of a live broadcast and you couldn't see or understand shit anyway
But you had it, you found it, and no one else did
And now you just torrent it as easily as you would the new Star Wars, because everything is available everywhere
I can see that being a bummer, of course, those were fun times, but it would be pretty bizarre, and against the spirit of the internet, if we didn't put an end to that and make sharing things infinitely easier, so it's pretty pointless to say this new era shouldn't have happened
Like, you know what I miss sometimes? Figuring out exactly how long a blank tape was, because it was never quite the number they gave on the package, and then picking songs for my mixtape that would best fill that time, figuring out how many seconds of blank space to put between them, etc., etc. so there weren't like three minutes of dead air at the end of each side. Probably most kids didn't bother doing this, but I thought it made things more fun
Do I think we should go back to that, though? Are you fucking kidding me? I recently sent my friend a Spotify playlist of shit from around the world that I never would have heard of a couple decades back, because they wouldn't have sold it in Newbury Comics or put it on the local college radio station. And it was easy as hell and I could send him twenty more mixes like that in the time it would have taken me to do one tape. Plus he's overseas and do you know what postal rates are like these days, sunny Jim? Miss me with that
It's hard to pin this down into any single one argument, because it's honestly a conversation about myriad things at once. It's not just about music sharing, but about the internet and its implications on all of us, and the actual world that we live in morphing into something else entirely because of it.
The spirit of limitless sharing of any media, and the luxury of discovering obscure rabbitholes you never would never have been able to arrive at otherwise, in itself of course is special and amazing.
I guess my real gripe is more about the internet as a lifestyle, and how - if you allow it - it can and absolutely will devalue almost anything you consume through it. Humans have limited bandwidth, and the constant stream of distraction and endless selection that the internet provides can easily render things a lot less meaningful and special. Especially music. Digesting a record is an entirely different experience in pre and post-internet times.
Plus that point you touched on (nicely) - when you had to actually put in the effort to attain something you cared about, it dug deeper you into it, and it ended up having a greater personal significance. You had to make a certain sacrifice, and that made it far more meaningful than simply uh, just clicking on it. Also, Shitty VHS, warbling mix tapes - in an isolated environment, without immediate possibility to download endless other perfect copies, those archaic mediums had something oddly personal about them. Your copy was fucked up and warped, but in one particular way that only you really knew.
Yes, I fully recognize that some of this is just romanticization of days long gone. Nostalgia is always stupid and useless unless you're the one who feels it.
I guess I'm also lamenting how the internet shifted before our eyes from this semi-private haven only people in the know ever really bothered to access (1999), to this wild, uber ugly neo-neighborhood festering with ads incessantly trying to sell you shit anywhere you turn, and endless cookie permission requests forever promising you that UR PRIVACY IS OUR TOP PRIORRITY, and entire communities dedicated to outrage porn, yadda yadda yadda. Somewhere along the line the internet became something I'm really not on board with almost at all, and almost exclusively butt my head into to get what I need and GTFO.
Spotify (and netflix and tons of other stuff, for that matter), justifiably or not, tie into that sort of lifestyle for me; that added irrelevant noise, and over-abundance that takes away focus; a now streamlined ubiquity of distracting, gluttonous approach to being a viewer/listener that places limitless selection over actually fully truly absorbing and plunging into any one thing.
Instead of coming on board with all those supercalifragilisticexpialidocious easy services that take you down their particular curated road, I just enjoy doing my own exploration instead, and basically using the internet like it's 1999 with better download speeds. I'm still here, aren't I?