“Instantaneous” can practically define our generation. Gone are the days of waiting around for the things we want. If a YouTube video is over five minutes, it’s too long, and therefore not worth watching. If food has to be cooked for more than three minutes, it’s too much effort.
Services and companies are tailored around our generation wanting things and wanting them now. Video-based social network Vine satiates our entertainment needs in just six seconds, and Netflix Instant and HBO GO allow us to watch movies and TV shows with just a click of a button, without the hassle of actually waiting for a DVD to be delivered.
The music industry has also adapted to our need for instantaneous gratification with streaming services like Spotify. The premise is simple. You type in the name of a song, and you listen to it. And if you want, you can listen to the whole album.
But just like instant coffee, while it’s quick and gets the job done, it leaves you with a feeling of nothingness, as though you should’ve taken the extra effort to wait for the full-bodied drip coffee.
While purchasing full albums, whether CDs or vinyl, may be seen as a thing of the past, it can produce a more nostalgic and sentimental feeling toward the music.
First of all, listening to albums as a whole is what the artist intended. The greatest pieces of music rarely come in the form of a handful of singles. Looking at my mom’s CD collection is like looking at pieces of history. Where else am I going to find a first edition copy of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” or Prince’s “Purple Rain?”
Taylor Swift possibly feels the same way as I do about physical music sales, as she recently removed all of her albums from Spotify. In her Time magazine cover story, she stated, “I think there should be an inherent value placed on art.”
Complete, physical albums, just like photographs, literature and paintings, are works of art, and it’s much more satisfying to possess art tangibly rather in disposable digital form. Viewing the Mona Lisa on a laptop screen is nothing like visiting the Louvre and coming face to face with the work.
Music stores all over the country are closing, and that’s a testament to the fact that the art form is dying. The next time you feel like iTunes or Spotify will suffice, ask yourself this question: Isn’t my listening experience worth more than three minutes of instantaneous enjoyment? I’d much rather be satisfied by a physical album for years to come.
Kelly Brody is a sophomore majoring in journalism.