The democracy of music as a streaming commodity

As someone who does not love podcasts, I feel slightly annoyed by Spotify directing so much energy towards them, but I can understand. Podcasts are “cheaper” and allow exclusivity. (Funny to think that music ends up being both a commodity and the more expensive product.)

Anyway, I am happy that music remains a commodity. Imagine how awful is music streaming resembled video streaming and its endless, relentless fragmentation of content libraries.

By the way, the commodity aspect of Spotify (and the others) never ceases to amaze me

To think that everyone in the world (with some regional exceptions) has access to a reasonable approximation of the entire universe of “commercial” recorded music for a small fee is still quite thrilling. 

Not a long time ago, accessing music was much harder. You had to live near a music store. Or a library. If you did not live in a major center, only when traveling you could visit a large store with wider selections. Every disc was a marginal purchase, and quite “risky” too, if you did not like the songs. There was a physical limit of how many discs to store in your house, or take with in the car or any kind commute. Discs or tapes would get lost or damaged. Or you would leave them at the summer place, and spend the rest of the year far from them. 

Anyway, it is fine that Spotify is pursuing this opportunity of “copyright arbitrage” and building of exclusivity walls,  but let’s not forget to observe this curious moment in history, where “everyone” has access to “everything” in music. How this democratic component affects the culture? Anything you enjoy you can share with everybody, while previously, music knowledge was much more stratified: you had to live near Tower Records, have a lot of empty bookshelves etc. etc. How does this affect the music we enjoy and identify with?

How does this affect the music we seek, enjoy and identify with? This seems an interesting topic to explore…

(Previously a twitter thread).

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