A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

The age of average (encore)

It is not you. It is the music. It is decidedly average.

If you were wondering if there is a trend of music converging into some kind of homogeneous soup, you might not be entirely correct, but also not wrong. The article linked here has some really interesting numbers - but better - insights into the background of the mechanisms at play here.

Media has always shaped music.

In the 1950s, the limited capacity of 45rpm vinyls created the conditions for the 3-4 minute pop song. LPs, which held 22 minutes per side, ushered in an era of roughly 12 track albums. And radio’s popularity led to long, instrumental introductions that disk jockeys could talk over.

Clearly, how music is distributed, affects what music is distributed.

In 2005, streaming services made up a negligible amount of recorded music revenues. Today it accounts for over 80%. We are now 15 years into the streaming era, where anyone can listen to any track at any time. And whilst it was predictable that music itself would evolve, how it would evolve was anything but.

This article argues that the changes in technology have led to songs getting shorter, music getting less melodically diverse and lyrics getting more repetitive.

Or to put it another way, just as our visual culture has become more homogeneous, so too has the music that accompanies it.

Junior violin with finger-placement stickers