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Monday, December 27, 2010

In 2010, Time Is What Matters: A Nugget of Wisdom from the Music Critic of the Year

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 10:29 AM

click to enlarge Zing!
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Our sister blog in New York today published an interview with the anonymous Twitterer @Discographies, whom it declared Music Critic of the Year. Go read that fascinating, funny and worthwhile interview, but first, it's worth calling out a particularly wise morsel from it. For me, these few sentences almost perfectly sum up the challenge of listening to music and critiquing it in 2010:

I'd argue that for a lot of people the dominant mode of music consumption is neither the album or the song but the discography. In 2011, if you're 15 years old and you want to hear the Beatles, there's no need to agonize over whether or not you should buy Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road first because you're just going to type "beatles" and "discography" into Google and five minutes later you'll have every note the group ever recorded on your hard drive. (Is that legal? No. Is that reality? Yes.) 

Since we're now at a point where it costs virtually nothing to acquire and store someone's life work, the one truly valuable commodity that still surrounds music consumption is the expenditure of time necessary to hear all the stuff you've downloaded. [Emphasis ours.] If our hypothetical 15 year old has just BitTorrented Neil Young's entire corpus of work onto her computer, she'll probably be a lot happier if the first album she plays isn't Old Ways, but who's going to tell her that? That's where I see @Discographies as having real utility above and beyond whatever entertainment value it may possess. If I can steer just one person away from This Note's For You and towards Tonight's The Night, it will all have been worthwhile.

This dude, whoever he is, has it absolutely right. The challenge of listening to music in 2010 isn't acquiring single songs or albums or discovering new artists. It's deciding how to spend our time on all the music that's available.

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But is @Discographies a decent guide to what to listen to, or is it mostly a (hilarious) stunt? Tell us your thoughts by following this blog on Twitter, telling me what to listen to, or posting your own nuggets of wisdom on our Facebook page.

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Ian S. Port

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