The Declining Value of Music

records sprawl

 A small sampling of some of the record collection.

It is still awe-striking to see how the value of music has decreased so much in the last two decades. The value continues to slide. The majority of popular music today is over-produced with “talent” that often has no actual talent. There are very few exceptions. You might think this is a product of my age and typical thinking of someone who is “maturing”. Let’s set the record straight again. I’ve long been considered mature for my age. I’m in my thirties as of this writing. My main musical interest has always been heavy metal. One of my first writing gigs was as a music reviewer for a long-gone online music magazine, State of The Rock World. My writing chops are quite sharp on the topic.

I agree with Neil Young’s conclusion that a digital track contains less than ten percent of the quality of music that appears on vinyl or other mediums. Hearing music on cassette still has significant better quality. Music is more accessible now than it ever has been. There are obvious positives to this. Veteran artists and genre-pioneers can be discovered quickly if their work is available through iTunes. Someone can bring up YouTube the very second they want to hear a song. Radio stations are inviting people less and less to call in requests. If they do, it’s only because the radio personalities and program directors are bored, or looking for ideas to fill in the spaces.

Gone are the days when people saved up their money to get the latest from their favourites. A song costs a buck and a half or less on iTunes making it easy for anyone to just get the one thing they want. There is a significant demographic of the music listening world that still places significant value on music. Record collectors.  

Record Collectors are always on the lookout for that next thing to add to the pieces of vinyl that they have. I’m not a fan of shopping with record stores being one of the few major exceptions. Looking at a record sleeve, checking out the quality of the record and ensuring that the price is right for potential purchase. That exercise puts an increased value on the music. Used record have this amazing back story that most people will not know about. It was more than likely part of a music collection for someone who is gone or has given up on the hobby. They might have scrimped and saved to buy that particular record. It will probably make its’ way into someone else’s collection.

Thereby creating another story of musical value. A tale seen from the eye of the collector, and the ear of the listener. 

Music and the music business continues to change. It will be very interesting to get a sense of where music technology will go from where it currently is. Hopefully the quality can return to a time where production, recording and the completed results are of significant value again. Slick production and overuse of vocal enhancement technology just does not cut it.



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