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WHY are less people listening to music?


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#1 of 74 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted August 19 2003 - 07:46 AM

I read a lot about how more & more people are listening less and less to music, but I haven't read a good theory on why this is happening. And I mean actually listening to music and not swishing out a toilet or reading the newspaper at the same time.

Personally, I'm worried about this. I'm no sociologist but the thought of less art appreciation in a society sounds like a bad thing at a certain level to me.

Any ideas out there?

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#2 of 74 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted August 19 2003 - 07:59 AM

I don't know if there is any statistical information to the effect that people are listening to music less. But there is more competition for their free time discretionary dollars (films, DVD, running across Main Street while naked, etc.).

#3 of 74 OFFLINE   Dan B

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Posted August 19 2003 - 08:09 AM

Yeah, I think Jack is on the money. (add things like internet and videogames to the ones Jack mentioned already and you start to get the idea)

#4 of 74 OFFLINE   John Watson

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Posted August 19 2003 - 08:53 AM

For the MTV generation, music is associated with visuals.

Some might say the music isn't as good.

And multitasking (doing several things badly, simutaneously) is considered a virtue by some Posted Image

#5 of 74 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 19 2003 - 10:36 AM

I agree with John and Jack.

Here's my theory on some key factors:

1. There have been studies that show we have increasingly less free time.

2. When we have less free time, there is more popularity on the "home theater" experience, so DVDs soak up a lot of discretionary income. Likewise PC interest is taking a lot of dollars.

3. There seems to be much fewer mainstream articles on stereos or listening to music.

4. When people have bought music recently, often they have been disappointed by finding 1-2 good songs out of 12.

5. CDs seem expensive relative to other media like DVD. 2 hour movie (plus 1-2 hours of bonus materials?) with visuals versus 45 minutes of music for roughly same price.

6. Fewer people have a serious interest in music judging by the lack of classical/jazz sales.

7. The demographic of music buyers has drifted way down into the teenage years.

8. Fewer big supergroups producing truly creative, classic albums.

Just my two cents...
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#6 of 74 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted August 19 2003 - 11:17 AM

I think the Bugles predicted it best... Video Killed the Radio Star.

People want visuals, not just audio

People are spending more time using their eyes when it comes to entertainment.

The internet, video games, MTV, and home theatres are examples of why people would rather doing things that stimulate the eyes and not just the ears.

To most, music is just something that's played in the background. Very few people actually sit and concentrate to what they're listening to. This listening behaviour is one reason why Hi-Rez will never catch on to the masses - nobody pays attention enough to the music to even notice the difference in sonics.

#7 of 74 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 19 2003 - 11:52 AM

Quote:
This listening behaviour is one reason why Hi-Rez will never catch on to the masses


I would never say "never" because you cannot predict the future. What if video was added to hirez? Maybe we will get that on BluRay.
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#8 of 74 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 19 2003 - 12:48 PM

Many good points raised here.

I suspect that, overall, if folks are listening less then it's because there are many other popular entertainments to distract them.

However, there are certainly signs that the recorded music industry is not and likely never will again be what it used to be.

Many record-selling chains are looking for buyers (e.g., Tower), or bankrupt (e.g., Warehouse, Turtle's) or somewhere in between. The indie record shop is not as easy to find as it once was, and prices there tend to be high. DVD-Video discs outsell redbook CDs by large numbers, with no signs of the phenomenon changing. Radio is, well, not what it used to be, and even though there may be promise ahead with satellite radio, it's becoming nearly impossible for new artists to 'break' on standard stations. MTV has been a pop-culture channel for a long while, and has really shied away from music's vanguard. And concert-going has changed as well, with established acts charging big bucks, and smaller acts having to get into bed with the big promoters, which are usually the same companies that own the radio stations!

Sorry for the rant.

Despite this, there's no shortage of good music out there. In fact, the sheer bulk of product is greater than it's ever been, now that emerging artists can distribute their stuff to millions of folks over the 'Net. One just has to be somewhat more discriminating to sort through the chaff, and seek out outlets for new music.

So, if you don't have a good indie or college station in your area, get on the 'Net and shop around. Support local and emerging artists. Do your part, soldier. Posted Image

May I humbly recommend New York's own WFUV, the radio voice of Fordham University. This is a public radio station which broadcasts on radio and over the 'Net, and plays a great mix of established and emerging artists, with a nod toward acoustic rock, folk, alternative pop, world music and related styles, as well as NPR news. If you choose to listen, please support them. Don't work for them, and I'm not a Fordham grad, just a listener. Peace.


#9 of 74 OFFLINE   Brian Burgoyne

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Posted August 19 2003 - 03:49 PM

I find myself surprised (and disgusted) at how many of my "old fart" friends listen to TALK radio! They don't even seem to care about music anymore. They don't even try to keep up. If they have a party, maybe they will put in some old Eagles or Jim Croce cd's.:b

#10 of 74 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted August 19 2003 - 04:09 PM

I agree with the global one: I personally do watch a lot more movies than I used to, and subsequently, music listening has been reduced.

Used to be single and have an apt too. Listened to a lot more music. Now, have a house (and more darn space for my system, but...) and a wife, and have to spend a fair amount of time on both. Posted Image
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#11 of 74 OFFLINE   Tony Mirra

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Posted August 20 2003 - 12:28 AM

I agree with most of the sentiments here, but I tell you this: it's a sad day when the local T Mobile phone stores have more people in them than the local record stores.

#12 of 74 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 20 2003 - 12:43 AM

Quote:
Now, have a house (and more darn space for my system, but...) and a wife, and have to spend a fair amount of time on both.


Just wait until Kevin Brown, Jr., comes along... I hope you like Pixar. Posted Image

Seriously, bringing a theater-quality movie experience into our homes has certainly drained away time that we would have spent listening to music. Likewise, the 'Net. So much entertainment, so little time.


#13 of 74 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted August 20 2003 - 04:00 AM

Let's face it - thanks to DVD, E Entertainment, etc. everybody and their mother now seems to know how CGI works, acting methods, editing, special effects, etc. - heck, even box office and financing arrangements are public entertainment nowadays.

How many people know how to build a harmony over a specific chord progression? How many folks know how to improvise a melodic line? How many music fans really know how to make or appreciate music? How many people have the ability to listen judiciously?

Every since the arts have left the schools, the only teaching apparatus left has been the tube.

Just my $.02,

#14 of 74 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted August 20 2003 - 04:24 AM

It also seems that music is taken less seriously. I wasn't around at the time, but I get the feeling that in the 60s and 70s, people at large would make a big deal about the new album by The Beatles or Pink Floyd. People would study the lyrics and learn the guitar parts, argue over punk vs arena rock, etc. Sure, some of it was dumb, but there was passion behind it.

I think by the 80s people were burned out by the whole thing- the constant subdivisions of styles, the perceived pretension of some hardcore music lovers, and the ambitious lyrics and musical ideas involved with rock music. While disposable pop was always part of rock, I think it completely came to dominate the musical landscape in the 80s with help from MTV and the homogenisation of radio stations. And the original fans of the "classic" bands grew up and generally had to take less of an interest in music.

Music seems to be taken as more of a joke these days. One could argue the same has happend for film, but I don't really think it's nearly as much so as it is for music.

In the most simple and harsh terms, I blame the very nature of rock music. It is often fleeting, providing immediate thrills with no lasting artistic value. Now, that's fine, but it kills the joy and passion of music for two generations of people for whom that is their entire musical vocabulary.

#15 of 74 OFFLINE   TommyT

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Posted August 20 2003 - 04:52 AM

I find myself surprised (and disgusted) at how many of my "old fart" friends listen to TALK radio!

I guess I'm one of those old farts you speak of! Posted Image I actually listen to NPR more than the FM rock stations in my area because I want to hear the news. NPR presents it in a fairly unbiased format BUT they also present it with infinitely more detail than all those overly-conservative AM stations that announce the station name every 3 secs.

The bigger reason why I don't listen to FM rock stations, particularly those that call themselves 'classic' rock is because they are overwhelmingly redundant, playing the same songs & acts all the time. DJs do not pick the songs they play, instead they are forced to adhere to a preset playlist with no variation. Plus, the way they ignore local acts is disgusting.
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#16 of 74 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 20 2003 - 04:53 AM

Quote:
In the most simple and harsh terms, I blame the very nature of rock music. It is often fleeting, providing immediate thrills with no lasting artistic value. Now, that's fine, but it kills the joy and passion of music for two generations of people for whom that is their entire musical vocabulary.


I think there is a general decline in music quality over the past ten years, but there are some notable pop and rock exceptions. I find Beck to have some of the most creative and stylistically challenging music on the planet. Much of what I think is truly great are recent albums by Van Morrison that borrow a lot from blues and soul...
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#17 of 74 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted August 20 2003 - 05:04 AM

Of course there are exceptions. I talk about them on this forum all the time because I feel they're worth seeking out and listening to. I just don't feel the need to list exceptions everytime I make a very general statement.

#18 of 74 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 20 2003 - 05:27 AM

Quote:
I think there is a general decline in music quality over the past ten years...


Not sure if I agree. But, I do think that the signal to noise ratio is smaller than it used to be. There's a lot of product out there, and a lot of it isn't any good. And, certainly, the stuff that gets aired on corporate radio is mostly noise.


#19 of 74 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 20 2003 - 07:28 AM

I think I disagree with the sentiments here. Considering the Internet Radio stations and MP3's, I would tend to think that people are listening to music more than they used to.

If we are talking about the radio, then Yes, I think more people are tuning out (no pun intended) Posted Image

I've had my new radio installed in my car for almost a year now and I just finally decided to program the stations into the presets because I NEVER listen to the radio. Who the hell wants to listen to the same songs over and over and over again every hour and then have to listen to "Radio edits" and COMMERCIALS! Posted Image Arghhh! Mac had a great commercial for iTunes internet radio called "The radio SUCKS!" Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
Quote:
it's a sad day when the local T Mobile phone stores have more people in them than the local record stores.
Considering the new phones are coming with FM tuners installed, this is probably even more reason why I agree that music listening is on the increase.

#20 of 74 OFFLINE   PaulHeroy

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Posted August 20 2003 - 07:55 AM

Don't have time for a really cohesive post... but just a few things to consider.
  • Education: music education has never had much prestige in this country, in contrast to Europe and maybe Asia. Interestingly and I think relevantly, both have stronger native classical traditions. (And the closest thing we have in America, jazz, suffered for so long as the product of a racist society that it doesn't fit the above models of music produced by the dominant culture.) We have very few young people who get much exposure to music beyond the simplistic garbage on MTV and commercial radio, so they don't develop an appreciation for something that engages more than the butt. (Or ogle factor for video.)
  • Music industry: The Biz wants product it can reliably produce and control. That means widgets, not sophisticated and independently thinking artists. I think they'd prefer to remove as much of the human element as possible, which is what you see with the pretty faces that have robot music behind them. ("Robot music" is what I think of the artificially made pop/dance mixes I hear.)
  • Fragmented marketplace: In somewhat of a counterpoint to the above, the market has evolved into countless genres, sub-genres, micro-genres each with their own fan base. This makes getting a good feel for the general music marketplace tougher, and there are lots of exceptions to the above b/c a certain percentage humans still are going to tear through the confines of pre-chewed music and search out something more meaningful.
The previously made points about more visually oriented entertainment choices for limited free time are also a big factor.

As for commercial radio... I am fortunate to live an an area that has 7 non-commercial stations. 2 are mostly jazz & blues, 3 are college free format, 1 is NPR Talk, 1 is an independent classical music station.


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