Thursday 23 June 2016

Breaking More Waves Is 8 Years Old Today - Some Thoughts

Breaking More Waves is 8 years old today. I think that’s worth celebrating a tiny bit and hence this post – just to mark the occasion.

8 years of writing rubbish about music. It might not seem much of achievement, it’s certainly not climbing Everest or sailing round the world or helping people who have suffered in terrible atrocities, but as I constantly say, doing it against a background of a busy professional job, having 2 children, other hobbies, interests and social life, I think it’s still an achievement of sorts. Just being committed to doing it for that length of time, for no reward except the pleasure of doing it, I define that as a success. I’ve said this all before (possibly even a number of times at previous blog birthdays) but I think it’s worth saying again, even if just to myself for motivation. For certainly this year has, for a variety of reasons, been the hardest to keep Breaking More Waves going.

One of the things that has changed over Breaking More Waves lifespan is my relationship with recorded music (as against live music which has stayed pretty much the same).

In those 8 years the way that music is distributed has altered dramatically and because of it the way I and quite possibly you listen to it has also changed. On one hand, streaming has, for music fans like me, made the world an even better place. Now I can listen to more artists, more albums, more new releases, than ever before. Brilliant! Yet on the other hand I’m not always sure if this is quite so wonderful as it seems. In the past I may have purchased 30 or 40 new records a year and 5 or 6 of them would become true favourites that I would play over and over again for years and years. They’d become like best friends. Now, with streaming, I seem to find fewer best friends every year. Albums can become easily discarded and forgotten; there’s always something new to listen to. My relationship with music is in danger of becoming fickle.

It’s one of the reasons why when I stream an album and really like it I still buy a physical copy as well. There’s something about that act of purchase that creates a deeper relationship. I’m still not sure of the psychology behind it, but for me, it does.

But there’s another reason as well. Whilst streaming is undoubtedly the future, the future of streaming services is far from certain. None of them are making profits yet. It’s yet to be proven that they will. And if they don’t what will happen? This is the other reason I still buy physical copies. If streaming fails I don’t want to have a massive void in my music history. 

Total failure is of course highly unlikely but there’s a possibility that should the likes of ‘streaming only’ companies like Spotify fail we could be left with a smaller number who run as loss leaders to help sell other products their companies produce. (Apple for example).

It will be interesting to see where we are in another 8 years time and how the landscape has changed and how my listening habits of changed. 

And what of this blog. Will Breaking More Waves still be going in another 8 years? I highly doubt it. I’ve already scheduled a potential end date, when the blog will shuffle off to wherever blogs go to die, although that’s not in the near future.

So for now, all being well, this time next year I’ll be celebrating 9 years of Breaking More Waves, but for the next few days I'm taking a break, whilst I enjoy myself at Glastonbury Festival. Back soon!

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