Food For Thought

I saw a few things online today that reminded me how the majority of people value music these days. Particularly, there’s an article floating around out there titled “10 Things You Should Never Pay For.” Sure enough, the first thing on that list is…. (unpaid for drumroll please…) … Music Downloads! Yep. The article says “These days it doesn’t make sense to spend your hard-earned cash on just one song or an album where you can legally get an entire catalogue of music for the price of one album or stream for free.” 

Okay, sure, whatever — I get your “Ways to Save” trendy little article. That’s just, like, your opinion, dude — and honestly, I have absolutely no interest in lecturing anyone on why that’s terrible advice to those who actually considers themself a fan of music. I’m not going down that road. There are those that understand why opting to only stream music for free online isn’t a good thing and then there are those that can’t process the information in their brain. It’s not their fault, and I hold no grudge (though, I used to). For now, we’ll just leave it at that.

What it really got me thinking about was not necessarily the value of music, which has been a never ending debate for this generation, but what a PRIVILEGE music is to have. That’s not debatable to me, that’s just a fact. Music is a privilege. I started thinking about how a song gets to the person who consumes it and began relating it to buying an apple in the grocery store. You walk in there and there it is, BAM, an apple. In the same sense you hop online and there it is, BAM, that song you like. Of course those that are in need of an apple don’t just sit around in the store and wait for a way to get it for free. They just pick out an apple that looks good to them and they go buy it, straight up. The difference with music (being the apple) and it being available online (the grocery store) is that you have a choice to buy it, or go somewhere else and get it free. Either way, the apple or the song is there (“Presto!”) waiting for you like magic. 

However, if you start working your way backward as to how either of them got there you’ll (hopefully) begin to realize why I say it’s a privilege. You see, before it sat there waiting for you, somebody had to put it there. The grocer stocks the apples at the store just as someone sitting at a desk with a computer uploads a song to the internet. Before that a truck had to travel long distances to bring many apples to the store just as any music distributor service has to send out many songs and albums to specific destinations online (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, etc). Before that a host of many talented individuals are working at some factory somewhere to clean, wash, and make sure the apples are ready for distribution. This is similar to the many talented individuals who are working in a recording studio (or music factory, if you will) to perfect the vocals, the guitar, the bass, the drums, clean up the sound, mix, and master before it is distributed to the masses online. And, before that you’ll find the farmer working hard on his land to plant the apple seeds, tend to the orchard, spend countless hours growing and nurturing the food to the best of his capability, to create a fruit people will enjoy. Like that farmer, there is a songwriter sitting somewhere working hard at crafting a song people will enjoy, who spends not just many hours, but a whole lifetime nurturing his craft. He’s someone aiming to get better and better and better so he can make a living doing something he deems enriching to people’s lives. When you think about all of THAT, and how many people are involved, how many jobs are at stake, how many talents are working in harmony together, you find it’s quite an undertaking and an important little story behind that one apple you’re buying for 99 cents, or a single song for generally the same amount. If you ask me that’s quite a deal for the consumer…

So, with that said (and continuing with my little apple analogy here!) as you bite into a really delicious piece of fruit you are completely enraptured by it’s flavor and how it makes you feel. You aren’t thinking about how much it cost, and you probably wouldn’t even remember how much you paid for it anyway. You’re just sitting there telling yourself “this is reeeally REEEALLY good!” That experience is priceless, it’s awesome — and it’s a privilege to have that feeling so readily available to us (in fruit or music form!). But, that IS what music does for people every single minute of every single day at any given moment. So, is it worth your hard earned money? Hell yes it is. But, I guess that’s just my opinion… if it’s yours too feel free to share this post 

Anyway, just wanted to vent a little, not really out of frustration but as a means to educate the uninformed. It’s important for the modern music listener to understand that the internet does not make your music, other humans do. It’s also important to eat healthy, so go grab some fruit, put on your favorite record, sit back and appreciate the good things you have and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

Have a good one,
~ Brad

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The Future Before The Internet

Mars

I wrote and posted this a week or two ago on my Facbeook but now that we have a new official blog I thought it deserved it’s own entry, so here you go…

Here’s an interesting thought – if the core of your childhood took place in the 1980’s or early 90’s you are among the last generation in history to envision a future without the Internet. Remember what that looked like? We were going to have hover cars, people living in space, molecular transport tubes that sent us across the galaxy instantaneously, and everyone was going to wear cool shiny silver jumpsuits. Now, I will admit, most of how I imagined the future as a kid was based heavily on a variety of family vacations to Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center between 1986 and 1996, as well as the movie Back To The Future Part II. Still, let’s all agree that by now we should definitely have a few hover cars sitting next to us in traffic on the way to work.

So what happened? Where are the shiny suits? The transport tubes? Delorean Time Machines??? Anyone??? Well, in exchange for that tired cliché vision we dreamed of for so many years we got the Internet instead. Sure, the Internet is great, amazing, revolutionary, yada, yada, yada. But, I think it’s a very anticlimactic future for our generation. The mere idea of “The Year 2000” was once synonymous with science fiction, but all we got in the end was Y2K and Napster. Thanks Internet, I guess. We used to look up, out into space, and conceptualize a world beyond our own. Now we’re constantly looking down, conceptualizing a world within our laptop. That’s the future we were waiting for? iPhone apps and games for social networking? “So and so invited you to play Candy Crush??” Ah man, what a let down. Pretty far from space the final frontier. Think about it. We have a rover on Mars right now, a planet we’ve never been to before, but nobody seems to really care. When was the last time your Facebook news feed was inundated with educational pictures of space rocks? Who cares about life on another planet? Like, am I right? On the other hand, have you seen that trending Buzzfeed article “21 Things “The Goonies” Taught Me?” It’s totally so true OMG!!

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I wouldn’t feel let down if we were using the Internet to better our minds and not numb out on what is mainly pointless drivel. Cat pictures, food pictures, porn, Facebook stalking, stealing music, peopleofwalmart.com, and arguing; Generally speaking, these are the “great” advents of the Internet. We literally have an endless amount of knowledge at our fingertips at all time and THAT’S the information that means the most to us in cyber land. I guess it’s entertaining, but, I don’t feel any smarter or educated for having the Internet. I just find things out instantaneously and most of the time the information doesn’t stick to my brain anyway. I think that’s why we clutch to our smartphones so much. They’re beginning to think for us so we don’t have to. That’s why if someone asks us an educated question we most commonly reply with “I don’t know, let me Google it.”

Our future did not include the Internet until it just sort of appeared and took over. For most of us it showed up in the mail as a CD labeled “500 Free Hours of America Online.” That frantic dial up static noise not only connected us to the World Wide Web for the first time, it connected us to our future. The Internet came in and said “Move over hover car, rocket boots, zero gravity housing on the moon, you’re not in the cards for these people, I am.”

So, our vision of the future flipped and became introverted. That once big infinite black universe surrounding Earth shattered into a million smartphone screens that now reside in the palm of our hand. Sitting, starring, ignoring one another, tapping on a small plate of glass… I have to ask again, this is the future that was waiting for us? I’d rather have a house on the moon than Twitter, I’m just saying. #futurefail