Where Did The Music Go? -OR- Am I Just An Old Man?

I was born in 1980, and as a kid, music seemed to be everywhere. It was just part of the zeitgeist. I talked about it with my family and friends, it was always playing everywhere. I remember specific albums coming out, everyone going out to buy it, and immediately sitting down to listen to it. I remember the last time I stood in line at midnight to buy an album, it was Radiohead Kid A. Streetside Records on The Loop in St. Louis.

I remember looking at the newspaper every Sunday to find out what musical act would be on Saturday Night Live. It didn’t matter who it was, we all watched it and talked about it at school on Monday. I remember the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, everyone watched it, everyone talked about it, adults and kids alike. In particular, I remember everyone was blown away (including me) by David Bowie and Annie Lennox performing “Under Pressure.”

Time marches on, these points in your life go away, and that’s just the way it is, but I can’t believe we as a society let new music kind of disappear from our lives. And look, I get that there are still big album releases and all that, but that seems to have been relegated to maybe 10-15 huge artists that I, and others like me, simply don’t care about. Nothing against Taylor Swift or whoever the big country guys are now, or their music, but if you’re like me, you get what I’m saying.

I give new pop music a shot here and there. I try to listen with an open mind, but I can tell usually within the first several seconds if it's mass-produced. I just can't. It's not good music. And I'm sorry, there's just a fundamental difference between good and bad music. Most (not all) of it is mass produced and bad. And that sucks.

I now have access to pretty much any music I want to hear through YouTube and Spotify, which is fantastic and sad. I experience music privately, not as I used to with friends and family.

I do find new artists here and there, which is absolutely fun. When some friends were visiting last year, I introduced them to Thumpasaurus, a band I had just discovered, and the experience was almost magical. We watched one of their live concerts together, and throughout their visit we were singing the songs at each other. It was a brief window into what life used to be like and I miss it dearly.

Is it just me? Am I just an old man who’s out of touch? I’m self-aware enough to know that might be the case, but I just don’t see how we as a culture experience music together like we used to.

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