Musical Musings

Music affects me profoundly. I am primarily moved by the notes themselves. I often find that I neglect to pay attention to the lyrics. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the lyrics. It’s just that the music overwhelms me.

I used to have the excuse that I couldn’t understand the lyrics in most of the songs that I like. That was a combination of lower audio standards in the recording studio and poorer performance of home stereo equipment.

Digital audio has changed all that. Today’s digital audio is so clear that if you close your eyes when you are listening to it you can easily get the impression that the musicians were standing in the room with you.

I had that experience on a couple of occasions earlier in my life but they were when I listened to the incredibly expensive (from my perspective anyway) analog stereo systems that some of my barracks rat friends owned when I was in the Army. And why not? They didn’t have anything else to spend their money on. The had a roof over their heads, three hot meals a day, health care, and a generous salary considering what they actually had to do from day to day.

Granted, we were subject to being asked to put our lives on the line for our country at the drop of a hat. But, there weren’t any hot wars in progress at the time and the Cold War was waining. There were these proto-terrorist jerks that called themselves the Bader-Meinhoff gang but the Polizei had them on the run.

Meanwhile, we went camping in the snow, played spades for days on end while waiting for headquarters to send a truck to drag our broken down test van back to post. We slept in our arctic sleeping bags in the van in temperatures that felt ten degrees colder than the snow covered forest outside.

Music was the common thread that helped us preserve some shred of our humanity through it all. When I finally got a decent audio system, built in to my computer as it turns out, it was no surprise that it turned out to be one of the primary uses that I put my computer to.

The internet has added the mechanism for distributing music so efficiently that the artists can now claim much more of the income that they generate from their recordings. This has encouraged more people to sell their music online and increase the diversity of music available.

Not all musicians feel that way. Some feel like they are losing out on sales because of people pirating their music. I can appreciate their point but I think they would find that the people that pirate their music weren’t going to buy it in the first place. They play the music for their friends and by virtue of the fact that more people hear their music to begin with, they sell more than they would have without internet sales.

I don’t have statistics to back that up but I do see more artists releasing more music than ever before. It is recorded in higher fidelity, is relatively cheaper for the consumer, and the artist doesn’t have to give 85 to 90 percent of their revenue to a record company. Your mileage may vary.

And just to be clear, I’m not advocating piracy. I pay for my music. I buy more music now than I ever have. I also enjoy it more.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.