Over the last few years it seems as though the argument of digital versus analogue has resurfaced with a vengeance. Vinyl records now populate shops of all kinds across East London and it would seem that technology and the desire for small and portable is experiencing a backlash. However, alongside this resurgence of the vintage, a huge increase in the use of music players such as Spotify has occurred. This paradox begs the question of not just which is better, but of what people now want from music.
The digital era has meant that music has saturated the internet and is available for everyone to download for free at the click of a button. This online accessibility and therefore disconnection from the physical side of music perhaps lends itself to a lack of appreciation. Before the Internet was a necessity, the possession of music was a privilege and the purchase of a new record an event. Hours were spent sitting next to the radio with a cassette waiting for a certain song to come on to record. Yes, this is piracy just the same as downloading something from Limewire, but there is a certain dedication to it that is lacking within our generation that demands instant gratification. Vinyl rekindles this appreciation, not only because it is often an expensive purchase that cannot be made every day, but also because the process of listening to the music requires more than the push of a button. It requires a dedication to the artist; you can’t shuffle a record player, its one artist and one album.
However, digital music offers the experience of music outside the parameters of the home or the club, in which analogue is confined. I’m sure most of us would go mad if we didn’t have music to distract us from the ever rising heat and smell of the central line at 6’oclock. The innovation of the iPod has opened the gates of music, and allowed small bands to prosper without the expense of producing a record. Streaming services such as Spotify promote the discovery of new music through the use of its apps, and I have certainly discovered some amazing bands that I otherwise never would have. Our music scene is so wonderfully varied, made so by the internet and the need for instant gratification that may sometimes detract.
The London music scene would not be the same if music wasn’t so readily available and I for one am thankful that we are lucky enough to have such amazing music at our fingertips. But maybe once in awhile, we should take a moment out of writing an essay or tidying our room to really listen to and appreciate the music that infiltrates our every activity.