Sunday, December 28, 2008

California Travel and The Business of Music

On my last visit to California I forgot to bring the iTrip with me which meant I couldn't listen to my own playlist while trying to get from place to place. I get anxious couped up in a car sans music. So, I did what I rarely do. I turned on the radio. And here I was. In California. Listening to a song I would have otherwise discovered on a Saturday at my local gym while casually looking at the TV screen.
I get lost a lot when I drive around in California but I don't get as annoyed by the time loss. The experience is almost relaxing as I get to be in the company of my own self, with no one telling me that my music is too loud or too obscure. So I roll the windows down and listen to the unpredicted choices the radio throws at me, free of my playlist control.
And in moments like that I felt I was enjoying music the way I hadn't in a long time. Music came to me as circumstance dictated and that was a novel treat.
Ergo, I found today's NY Times article on music quite gripping. So much about the music business seems to be about the business and not about the art itself and that hurts not only the genuine artists out there but also the genuine lover of music who relies on this art form in incomparable ways.
A favorite paragraph states:
"Perhaps it’s too 20th century to hope that music could stay exempt from multitasking, or that the constant insinuation of marketing into every moment of consciousness would stop when a song begins. But for the moment I’d suggest individual resistance. Put on a song with no commercial attachments. Turn it up. Close your eyes. And listen."
Read it all here.

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Unknown said...

I know what you meant by listening to music in an unencumbered way. That's one of the things I like the most about traveling. I've discovered a lot of great music when on the road.
The article is totally on the money. So much of contemporary music is all about mega promotion and money-making venues. But there are still some great beats out there and that's great news for us: the listeners.

Anonymous said...

And it's cool that you admit to getting lost. But then again the point as not for you to point out that you tend to get lost in California but that music allows you to deal with and even enjoy bizarre settings, yes?

Unknown said...

"Turn in up. Close your eyes. And listen."
I like how the article ended. It's advice that needs to be contextualized, however. The author is not talking to drivers, ja? :)

Anonymous said...

I know better than to trivialize music. It's a better companion than most people, anyway. Unless one or two of these people like to read maps or have a knack for directions. :)

Paul said...

Yay BR!

Music isn't an accessory. It's a magical art form that no one truly understands.

Anonymous said...

Right. Because it's incomprehensible, that's why it's a must-have....
That's why I like live shows. They give me a chance to stay away from my customized gadgets and take the sounds as they come.

Anonymous said...

I'd express something like this, too.
"Music came to me as circumstance dictated and that was a novel treat."
I'm assuming the driving around in circles was LA not San Francisco. I know you'd opt for walking in San Francisco, yes?

Anonymous said...

I miss the days of Vinyl...

Sra said...

That's why I like shuffle mode -- serendipity chooses my playlist. Sometimes when a song is taken out of the context of its order on an album, you hear it in a completely different way. In shuffle mode, I have discovered some great songs that I never gave a second thought on their albums.