I’ve reduced the number of hours that I’ve listened to streaming services. Whenever I want to listen to music, I’ll turn to 89.3 the Current about 90 percent of the time. Streaming services like Spotify feel cold to me. The only time I do use a streaming service is when I’m running. I have a subscription to Amazon Prime. While I do like a little bit of surprise in my music, I tend to enjoy stuff I know while I’m exercising. Most of that time it’s from music that I’ve heard on the Current.
It was a few months ago that I decided to free my ears from listening to Spotify for my general everyday music. I felt like I was at an ice cream parlor with way too many choices. You could have everything, so why aren’t you listening to everything? It overwhelmed me and made me anxious. I wondered if I was listening to the exact right song and the exact right moment. Most of the time, I wasn’t.
We don’t much for surprise anymore. Or, I should say that it’s very hard to suprise people. Since we have so many options for content, people can just click or flip or do something else if they are not entertained immediately. We have no patience anymore. I wanted to stop being paralyzed by analysis paralysis with my music.
The day I drove back to Minneapolis from Marshall, I turned to the Current about twenty miles outside of the city. Just as I was pulling up to 35W, Atmosphere came on. It was a new song. I think it was “Finer Things.” It felt perfect. It was a serendipitous welcome back to the Twin Cities. I felt like I was home and I loved it.
Maybe that could have happened if I was listening to a streaming service, but I don’t know. I’ve started to enjoy all of the things that public radio brings. I went to Rock the Garden last weekend. Even though it was extremely hot, I liked being there around bands, local organizations I liked, and food that I thought was delicious. It was nice to be out in the community, enjoying something nice on a summer day. I also got a little giddy when I saw some of the Current DJ’s even though I got too nervous to go talk to them.
There are lots of good things about the streaming economy. I can watch episodes of shows I like when I want to. I can binge on old episodes of tv shows that I love. And if I need to hear a song that I love RIGHT NOW, I can do just that.
But we lose something when we have everything at our fingertips. Isn’t there a saying that’s something like, “When a man has everything, he has nothing.” I may have made that up. But how can you enjoy one thing, when you have everything? I’m not advocating for complete detachment from your worldly possessions, but I think it’s good to let someone else take control for a while.