Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is music an endangered species?

We all know all about the issue with the selling of music. "Music is free" the artists shout, "how can we keep making it if we don't get paid for it?" And they're right, you know.

But there's something bigger and even more ominous than the "freeing" of music. People just don't engage with music like they used to. Music is not near the center of our cultural sphere anymore. Social media and television, iphones and video games have taken center stage. After a long day of meaningless work (I have written and will continue to write at length about this subject) the sheeple head home to plop down in front of their TV to watch Top Chef while they browse Facebook. I know this is what we do because this is, very often, what happens in my house. There was a time, arguably before I was born, before computers got awesome and television really figured out how to get us to watch advertisements, when music was everything to a lot of people. A new record came out and it was THE THING that everyone talked about. There were Black Friday-like lines at record stores for Led Zeppelin II and live music was something that everyone engaged in.

I'm optimistic. In my career, specifically as part of The Stringdusters, I continue to see more people out at the shows and every well run, well intentioned festival continues to grow. I may be wrong about this endangered species thing, actually. But I have a sense that ours may be the last generation that craves music, that needs the kind of experience and community that you get from being a fan.

What is to be done? We need to spread the word, turn our family, friends and co-workers on to what moves us, drag the couch culture out of the house and drop them in the front row of our favorite band and make a habit of going out to see music at local venues. Perhaps more importantly, we need to get our children stoked about music, it should be part of their culture. Let's cultivate music, help it grow and make it better, before it vanishes.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I think the joy of music is engrained in our DNA. Go back in time, to the earliest of humanoid civilizations, and you find music. It's our heartbeat, an integral part of what makes us human, and is entwined with every aspect of humanity. A song can take us on a trip through time, tap into any emotion on the spectrum, make us laugh or cry . . . I don't think it is going anywhere soon. My 14 year old plays three instruments very well, my six year old sings Les Mis songs with me, and my nearly three year old clamors regularly for The Wobble. Sure, we might have to excuse that last one, as Lindsay is still really little, but the fact is that my kids LOVE music. And they love it in a house that is beset by all the modern trappings of the digital age. In fact, I type this in one room while my wife surfs her laptop in another and Ben is playing Xbox in the den. Even still, music is wrapped around our world. I don't think it is going anywhere soon.

Now, if I may beg off here, I am going to pull up something on iTunes, blast it throughout the whole house, and finish my husbandly duties.

To music.