AMA: “If you could only listen to digital music or vinyl records for the rest of your life which would you choose?”
Hi Ali –
I’ll answer this solely as a listener. If I answer as an artist and songwriter, I might put myself out of a job!
I was going to say digital because it would include past, present, and future music (until whatever format comes along next). Vinyl would include a lot of past, quite a bit of present, but probably not a ton of future music. But answering your question this way mainly deals with the issue of quantity. And is quantity really a problem? When’s the last time anyone said, “If only I could find more music out there!”?
Choosing the vinyl-only route might be a great sort of bottleneck. I could narrow the scope (still obviously quite large), but it wouldn’t seem so overwhelming. The fear of missing out on new music would be my biggest concern. It seems like my kids are constantly showing me their latest favorite Spotify artist. To have to say, “Sorry, guys. Gotta order the record, wait for it to be delivered before I can hear it on the turntable in the living room” doesn’t sound all that realistic.
What I like about vinyl is the participation of the listener. When I listen to vinyl I have to go through a process. There’s finding the record, pulling it out, setting the needle. I’ll often make a cup of coffee or tea. No part of the process is convenient, but I like how it “sets the table” of my brain. I think I enjoy the music more.
This makes me think of active versus passive listening. We rarely listen actively these days. I mean who has the time to just sit down and listen to a song? Music is usually an accompaniment to something else. Exercising, studying, Instagram videos, etc. It’s the backdrop but it’s not the focal point.
For passive listening, digital works best. For active listening, vinyl works well because it’s so inconvenient. Not saying you can’t be an engaged listener with digital music because you obviously can. I just think it requires more self control and intention.
I think I could go back and forth on this question for a while because you brought up a complex topic, even though I know you were just curious and this is a fun question.
All that said, and here’s the real truth, Ali: I don’t listen to music that much. I wrote about why here in this post called Confucius Vs. My Dad.
Thanks for the question!
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