If you've ever heard me speak on the subject of how music is consumed today, you've heard me talk about a notion called "ego-casting." Because we have so much choice and 100% control over what we listen to, we tend to exclude everything we hate and listen only to the music we find appealing.
What's wrong with that? Because sometimes we have to be exposed to certain types of music against our will repeatedly until we go "Ah! Now I get it!"
The example I use is modern jazz. No one likes modern jazz the first time they hear it. It's too complex and too far removed from mainstream tastes that 99.9% of listeners go "Yuck! Turn that off!" And they'll never bother with modern jazz again. Which is a shame.
It's that repeated unintentional exposure that forces us to pay attention and learn. If we refuse to do that--if we only go by first impressions--then we end up missing out on a lifetime's worth of musical discovery.
The other issue we face is the sheer amount of music out there. We spend so much time researching and searching for music but precious little time savouring it. We hear something, consume it like coyotes on a dachshund and then move on. And if we hear something we don't like, it never gets a second chance. And that's wrong.
Here's a passage from a Hypebot article called "How the Microwave Generation Is Burning Music:"
The experience of circling back around to the songs you thought you hated is undermined by the luxury of picking and choosing only what we want to hear. I never really liked “Carry That Weight” from Abbey Road, but I couldn’t listen to the album in succession and just skip the song. It clearly resulted in a break in the flow that The Beatles didn’t intend. Albums still have that flow, but we’re not hearing it. We’re too busy searching song titles on YouTube and Spotify.
Hearing only what we want to hear is inevitable in the digital age. It’s easy to seek out that one song off the album that trump the others, or press “dislike” on Pandora and poof, it’s on to the next one. It’s convenient and satisfying for my so-called “microwave generation," ones who seek immediate satisfaction similar to feelings felt from the final ding of that TV dinner. But it changes the way we hear what we’re listening to, and the way the artist intended for us to hear it.
Please, please read the rest of this article. And then think about how you listen to music.