The Fundamental “Why” of Music Discovery
Cortney Harding
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This is an interesting take and a pessimistic one — an argument that people don’t need art or inspiration anymore once they’re beyond college age. I’ll raise your pessimism with optimistic fatalism. The music industry is saturated. Take for example classical music. People don’t compose classical music any more b/c there’s enough classical music out there (see Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point). Sure, there is Phillip Glass, but that’s about it. Music technology has allowed us to listen to music without getting to know who the artist is. I love Hypem and Pandora, but can I tell you who sang that new song I like? Not really. These new companies have given us easier access to new music, but they’ve made the artist making it a secondary. And what do humans remember? We remember the character who made the music. We remember the Beatles, Boby Dylan, and Mic Jagger along with the music. Music has to combine with the character who made it for us to remember it. So “new music discovery” companies will have to keep in mind to bring back the value of the artist itself, not just streaming music. We, consumers, have to find out who made that song. Sound Cloud has a good opportunity here, as do other discovery music apps. There will be a period of disruption. The old record labels will go away (thank goodness). Maybe Pandora will become a record label — why haven’t they done that? Netflix and Hulu are making originals. The better question is why isn’t Apple or Pandora making original music and backing musicians? This is a much viable product for Apple than producing tv shows. As human beings, we’ll always need art and music to move us, to inspire us. Discovery doesn’t end in college. If it does, we would live in a very sad and static world. We should always live to improve ourselves and to grow. So I agree, maybe we don’t need another MGMT but musicians will find another form of music that will make us shut up and listen. Something replaced classical music, didn’t it?

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