Listening to music can sometimes be a needlessly complicated process. It’s not hard to see why; for some people, listening to music is an incredibly substantial part of their lives, tuning in day-in, day-out, as often as they humanly can, consuming just about as much auditory stimuli as they do water. Last.fm and Spotify accounts resemble empires built out of years worth of plays and a diverse spectrum of genres, proudly flaunting one’s most-listened to albums like symbols reflective of one’s personality. Music is more than an embellishment for one’s surroundings or mood-lifting, mood-altering landfill for silence, it’s a genuine passion, and like any other form of art, savviness in it is rewarded with a feeling of self-expression and self-discovery that is unrivaled. Even when it’s not pushing one’s own boundaries, the simple pleasures of uncovering a piece of music that moves you, either physically or otherwise, is enough a reward in and of itself. The hobby is fundamentally very simple: you like what you like, and you dislike what you dislike. Despite what others may tell you, opinions are not objective, but shrewdly rejecting the idea of understanding another person’s thoughts doesn’t get you very far if discovery is on your list of objectives. Hell, some of my favorite music I hated at first, but a modest advocate imparting a fresh perspective can flip you a full one-eighty.
The science behind what makes music “good” or “bad” is relative but again very simple at its core. Sometimes one spares but fleeting attention as to what’s making the pretty noise around them, while other times each listen is a more intimate experience, preferring perfect conditions in one’s state of mind as opposed to constant exposure. This simply boils down to how your mind works; does constant exposure ruin a song for you or make it more pleasurable? Is it a waste of time to deny yourself the need to listen to the music you’d rather save for a more apt climate, or a rewarding endeavor? Do your online play counts even mean a goddamn thing at the end of the day? Thirty-thousand plays is a proud lifetime stride for some people but a mere season’s work for others. Likewise, does the person who has chronicled 50 plays of a track over a period of time have any deeper a connection with the song than someone who has played it double the amount in half the time?
Recorded listens obviously aren’t everything, since they don’t account for anything you listen to away from the computer, among other things, but some of us (myself included) borderline on obsessing that everything you hear, everyone else should know about it. A huge amount of plays on any given piece of music says something about who you are as a person and your taste, who wouldn’t wish to share that with fellow music enthusiasts? After all, some friendships begin over a humble mutual interest in an artist, and fuck, spotting someone with the same band t-shirt on as you at a show gives you a feeling like you are already friends. The thing is recorded plays as a representation of your listening habits and your taste yield varying degrees of accuracy. For one thing, and as mentioned above, Continue reading