Saturday, September 03, 2005

Accessibility of Music

I was just thinking about the quote that Nabeel brought up in his lecture by Timothy Taylor, that "digitaization is the most fundamental change in the history of western music since the invention of notation in the 9th century," and while I just wrote it down as just some guys opinion, I didn't necessarily see it as true at the time. But I think he's right to an extent. Maybe he was just talking about digitization in producing music but I think it's true aswell for digital consumerism.

Case in point: I was watching the Glastonbury festival the other night on C4, happened to jot down a few bands I liked, went online to the Glastonbury festival homepage, checked out the bands, went to and found their cd's, wrote down a few songs, fired up bearshare and downloaded them. From those few bands I wrote down while watching TV (I think they were The Bravery, Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight) I learnt of similar bands through reading reviews on online music magazines and checked them out too (Kings of Leon, Kasabian, The Libertines, The Ordinary Boys, Bloc Party) and now I have this massive library of music from this one genre that I probably would not have had if it wasn't for digitization. Had the instant accessibility at the touch of a mouse button not existed, I probably would have just watched Glastonbury, thought they were good bands, then went to sleep dreaming I won lotto and could buy all their cd's.

I think Timothy Taylor is right, that digitization is a major change in music today- especially prevalent in consumerism, through the availibility of all this information online it has opened me up to all kinds of music. The genre specific categories are pretty specific now, looking at genres under rock there are 6 sub-genres, and taking alternative/indie-rock sub-genre under that there is industrial, alternative pop, goth rock, lo-fi, grunge, shoegaze, britpop, post rock/experimental, funk metal, indie rock, paisley underground, jangle pop, alternative country-rock, punk revival, post grunge, third wave ska revival, neo-psychedelia, riot grrrl, space rock, adult alternative, alternative dance, cocktail, dream pop, punk pop, british trad rock, industrial dance and madchester!

I don't think I'd EVER hear of 95% of these sub-genres to a sub-genre of rock genres had it not been for the instant accessibility and availibility of it online and I think we're pretty lucky that we have the choice of what music we like instead of getting our tastes fed down our throat through the limiting playlists on top 40 radio stations who are bankrolled (payola style) by commercial label interests.


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