"Pop today seems to share much in common with the generation listening to it: It’s driven, hypercompetent, sensitive to public scrutiny. (Maybe it was overscheduled and helicopter-parented as a child.) It’s obsessed with achievement and esteem and has a fraught, anxious relationship with whatever personal fulfillment is meant to result from them. So what if, in a certain light, Beyoncé’s catalogue offers a rich examination of how it feels when drive and discipline really are your organic personality, and your feelings fight against layers of self-control and pragmatism, and the documentary you make about yourself shows you working hard to relax and experience your own emotions?"
"Music modulates levels of dopamine in the brain which is a chemical responsible for reward and pleasure. It also modulates serotonin levels and norepinephrine, a stimulant. And in the right combinations, these can give rise to feelings of ecstasy and intense pleasure — almost a sense of being at one with the world."
"In the age of irony, indie rockers may be the only musicians with no cultural cachet to lose when it comes to Christmas. If Christmas has been secularized to the point that its meaning has splintered, indie rockers are engaging with it in part to deconstruct it. The Magnetic Fields wrote a sardonic, slightly confounding Christmas song—with one verse in German—for a non-Christmas album in 2010. In 2004, the Walkmen released the inebriated, discursive single “Christmas Party,” which embraced the company of old friends and familiar songs only as a salve for being otherwise alone. These songs poke at Christmas from the margins, and yet most them end up telegraphing something earnest and true."
It’s clear to me, in retrospect, that my piracy was mostly mere collecting, and like the most fetishistic of collectors, it was conducted with mindless voracity. A good collection is supposed to be made up of relics, items that conjure up memories, feelings and ideas for the owner so strongly that he gets pleasure in simply being in close contact with them. A tended garden. My collection was nothing like this: it was just a red weed, swallowing up and corroding anything I did care about within its indiscriminating mass.
(via Why I Stopped Pirating Music | Cult of Mac)
Do not endorse.
My relationship to music may be incredibly social, but it is also profoundly private and personal. I suspect this is true for a lot of people who care about music, and I think Spotify understands that; I think the saved, offline-available playlists that can accompany a Spotify user anywhere she goes—yet which also disappear the moment she cancels her subscription—are part of the service’s subscriber retention strategy. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se; implicitly holding a few playlists hostage is not the same thing as holding (say) someone’s first born child, or their right kidney, or their cat, and technically speaking there’s nothing to stop a disgruntled user from using her Spotify playlist as an acquisition to-do list before she quits the service.
But there’s a time price to rebuilding a music library, and frequently an economic price as well (as I am presently all too aware, thanks to that hard drive failure). Though I realize my relationship with music is already at the mercy of hardware manufacturers, software developers, and others (to say nothing of vinyl pressers, turntable cartridge makers, electric companies and the power grid and all of that), I’m wary of getting into a position from which I might have to calculate what either my love of music or my sense of right and wrong is worth in currencies of time, money, or frustration. In the end, I’m still clinging to “ownership” because for me, having files on my hard drive does a better job of preserving illusions of freedom and control.