Paradox or Paradise: Music Choice in the Digital Age – MTT – Music Think Tank

In a paper titled Can There Ever Be Too Many Flowers Blooming, Swartz outlines three of the paradoxical effects of choice overload in the cultural domain.

First, when fans are overloaded with cultural alternatives, Schwartz says they will, “Opt for the same old thing as a way to avoid facing unlimited options.” Similar to the reaction that a consumer has to abundance in the material domain, fans will opt for the same old music for a number of reasons. For starters, many fans, out of comfort, may not deviate too far from their favorites. That way, they are free from the disappointment they might experience in listening to music that is dissimilar from their established taste. So too, fans tend to have a deep memory of being burned. When purchasing music, they are more prone to remember all the times that the music did not work out as opposed to the times that it did. Also, fans will stick with what they know because there is instant gratification in that music; it never ceases to fit their mood or remind them of when they were growing up. Lastly, fans opt for the familiar because they are genre loyal and often have rigid tastes. In music, this paradox can be readily observed every day. Most passive fans are not interested in the new music, unless it is propped up by commercial radio stations or the clubs they frequent. For those of previous generations, especially since most of the new songs out there are not targeted at them anyways, they do not want to hear new music nor do they care about it at all. In effect, older fans would rather just listen to the songs that came out when they were younger.

via Paradox or Paradise: Music Choice in the Digital Age – MTT – Music Think Tank.

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