Having Music Is Ace

Tonight I’m on my own as Jenny decided to go to bed early; she has to get up very very early tomorrow for work. I got up a bit late today and don’t feel tired at all so I’m just contemplating an evening of work.

When I work I like to have a soundtrack, so I’m picking out a playlist for the next 12 hours (yes I will probably stay up all night).

What struck me is how much great music I have and what a terrible loss it would be if my collection were to be taken from me.

I’m not saying I have great taste in music. I don’t go to gigs — in fact I’ve never actually been to a gig at any venue larger than a pub — and I tend to find my new music through radio and TV; Later…, coverage of Reading, Glastonbury, that sort of thing. My taste in music has been described as “mediocre” by others, so I’m not saying I’m any kind of opinion leader here.

I was having a conversation on IRC recently about the streaming music service Spotify and how I don’t really understand the use case for it — I do get the mobile streaming part, it’s the idea of using it at home as your main method of playing music that I fail to comprehend.

During that conversation someone said to me:

“I use Spotify because I don’t have a music collection […] I don’t derive pleasure from having a music collection.”

This idea completely boggles my mind! Looking through my collection I find all kinds of things with personal attachment.

It’s not that I feel like I have every bit of music ever. I know people who just download every bit of music they can and have hundreds of thousands of tracks. I’m not like that; I have just over 3,200 tracks most of which were ripped from CDs or purchased as online singles. If I don’t find myself listening to something for years then I usually delete it. So, my collection is stuff I do still listen to.

When building a playlist, every time seeing the list of albums brings back so many memories. Music that came out at certain times in my life, or was listened to a lot at certain times in my life. It brings back memories of my teenage years, university, past relationships (girlfriends who stole my CDs!), people who have since died. I’m not into a lot of obscure music, but there’s things there you won’t even find on Amazon as a CD, let alone on Spotify for streaming.

Maybe I am just getting old and not embracing the cloud. But how does one build a big playlist with something like Spotify? What about when they remove things from the service? I should just try the free version and see what it’s like.

Perhaps there are people of an older generation who don’t like the idea of only keeping music on the computer, and regard me with pity for not being immediately able to lay my hands on the CD or vinyl for most of my collection? That really doesn’t bother me; to me it’s the music that matters and it’s there for playing.

What bothers me is the idea of marking some track in the cloud as “liked” by me, and then later finding it’s disappeared for some reason so I can no longer listen. Memories gone.

If I did use something like Spotify I’d probably have to do some report of things I listened to a lot and make sure I buy them. I will get around to trying out Spotify at some point but I can’t imagine it will replace the desire to buy and own music, rather I would hope it would help me find more music that I like.

Because having music is ace.