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Is the iTunes generation more eclectic?

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  • Is the iTunes generation more eclectic?

    I mentioned to a friend of mine that my 8 year old son, for whom I've arranged a monthly iTunes Allowance, has downloaded a wide variety of music selections: Styx, Journey, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine, Flaming Lips, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Boston, Cream, Taylor Hicks, Judas Priest, etc., etc., etc. (all without any input from Dad, I might add -- although Dad heartily approves of many of these selections).

    My friend postulated the idea (or repeated something he read...I really don't know) that iTunes has changed the way kids buy music. He said that kids these days are much more eclectic in their musical purchases than kids of "ye old days." His theory was that, when our generation purchased music, it tended to be albums of similar genres; but that, with the advent of iTunes, kids are more likely to pick and choose from a vast variety of musical genres.

    I thought this was intriguing, but always thought of myself as an eclectic guy. I'm curious: what do you think?

    Cheers,
    Mark
    <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to.&quot;<br />
    -Elvis Presley (1935-1977)</div>

  • #2
    Yes, but it's not due to itunes, it's due to illegal downloads.


    Expect the trend to continue.

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    • #3
      Yes I think so... and it's not only due to iTunes AND illegal downloads, but also satellite and Internet radio.

      Kids refuse to have their tastes dictated to them anymore and I think that's great. They are also a lot less concerned about whether it's "cool" to listen to music their parents listened to, they don't really seem to care about that and you see a lot more multigenerational audiences at concerts, which is again, very cool.

      I'm generalizing of course, but just speaking relative to the past.
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      • #4
        Unquestionably yes.

        It's because of the reasons that Lee cited, and by the fact that there's simply far more available than ever before.

        I know that most people here don't have a rosy outlook on the music that's currently being made. I'm in the small minority that acknowledge that while pop music may not be the best it has ever been, there's so much fantastic music of infinite varieties available that I am absolutely thrilled to be a passionate lover of music right now.
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        • #5
          Napster did more IMO, but the Ipod has probably impacted radio more.

          I teach guitar full time, and basically everyone has an Ipod now, so most people just bring in their Ipods to lessons now instead of cds. That's a fundamental change.

          Also, because of that I get to see at a glance what piques the interest of people. *Everyone* without fail is pretty all over the place. I haven't encountered anyone who has only one genre of music in their Ipod...

          ..which runs completely counter to the way music is marketed today.
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          • #6
            <<I haven't encountered anyone who has only one genre of music in their Ipod...

            ..which runs completely counter to the way music is marketed today.>>

            DING! We have a winner!

            I think a lot of it has to do with the singles-oriented nature of the iPod experience. It's a buffet instead of a prix fixe meal.
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            • #7
              ..but you know, there *are*common denominators I see. Mostly music from the pre-MTV era....

              Almost everyone will have something from one of the following groups:

              Beatles
              Zeppelin
              Pink Floyd
              Eagles
              Queen

              I'd almost have to put U2 on that list...

              If the labels went back to the truly old school way of thinking - signing real talent - instead of some bureaucratic notion of marketable talent, they wouldn't have the problems they're having now. By "bureaucracy I mean a corporate heirarchy where basically everyone has to confirm their position relative to some sort of given norm that is "obvious" - only on a common denominator level. Which means the end result of the *process* of "signing an act" is diluted through a sieve of no-nothings who have flaccid musical palates.

              Democracy is not a good way to make music, IMO, *or* to decide on what is "good" music - only "acceptable" music.

              Ack.
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              • #8
                Doesn't the singles nature of the ipod generation also mean that albums must be better overall? Who want to upload a mediocre album to their ipod when all they really want is a track, maybe 3?

                All too often I will buy a physical CD (egads!) but quickly rip it to the hard drive for listening on my mp3 player. I learn however what tracks are good and what aren't so I can incorporate them into my main playlists. I have only a few albums that I safely say I will listen to all the way through without skipping a track. I think the ipod generation needs more of these types of albums.

                But so do the artists and labels. Better songs mean more physical purchases because the entire album is good, where as a one hit wonder will get a ton of downloads and less album sales. Without knowing the data exactly, I would postulate this as being the case for the first few days for any of the American Idol winners (although their albums do sell well immediately).

                I like buying physical CD's. I like liner notes. I do download entire albums though, but I do say I often will delete a track or two and I definately miss the liners & lyrics etc. If the albums were better as a whole, I bet I would download less and rip more. This however is a thread that already exists...

                My .02
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                • #9
                  When I was 8 years old I had a few Beatles albums, a couple of
                  Ventures albums, and a few 45s. Of course I had my trusty AM
                  transister radio for what ever else was in the top 100. Its scary
                  what kids have at their disposal these days. I wonder what they'll have amassed 40 years from now?

                  Steve
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Anderton
                    I think a lot of it has to do with the singles-oriented nature of the iPod experience. It's a buffet instead of a prix fixe meal.


                    A front page article in the Washington Post today about this very subject credits the playlist for driving diversity.

                    The site may require registration, but here's the link:

                    TARGET='_blank'>Wash Post Article

                    From the article:

                    "Because the Internet has changed how people discover and share music, the rules of marketing it and the hierarchy of who determines what's hot have also changed. As radio-music listenership declines, the industry finds itself spending more time courting a broader field of tastemakers who, through Web sites, are popularizing songs that never get radio play. The primary tool in this transition is the playlist -- a sequence of tracks posted on blogs or shared on music purchase sites such as iTunes."

                    -plb

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Brittanylips


                      "As radio-music listenership declines, the industry finds itself spending more time courting a broader field of tastemakers who,


                      Ahhh, but they're *not* courting anyone at all! They're still in this corporate primadonna "WE can *make* people buy anything!" mode.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">]] message board @ <a href="http://www.chipmcdonald.com" target="_blank">www.chipmcdonald.com</a> [[<br />
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                      • #12
                        Going from Avenged Sevenfold to Styx to Cream is not really much of a stretch. It is pretty standard and familiar rock music.
                        It would be more amazing to see kids with both the Meat Puppets and Mainer's Mountaineers on the same track list.

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                        • #13
                          Like others, I think it's a goes around/comes around kind of thing.

                          When I was a kid, the song/single was king.

                          But the ecnomics of it toward the end of the 60's demanded a new way of looking at things. A single could cost as much as a buck -- but you could get a whole album for $3 or $4. (And even at hard discount, a single would typically be 60 to 80 cents.)

                          Plus, there was a mania for longer songs. You couldn't gracefully get 10 minute plus songs on a 45 without sonic compromises.

                          Not to mention, uh, lifestyle issues... many of us in the late 60's and early 70's had, er, better things to do than jump up every 3 or 4 minutes to switch up disks. (And changers... ugh... yeah SOME people had changers... tsk tsk. Very unhippy. Very unhip. Dropping your precious vinyl one on top of the other... the stylus going woefully out of angle... evil incarnate.)

                          But there was a "rebirth of the single" in the late 70s and early 80s spurred by the "new music" (punk/new wave) scene. (If for little more reason than that unsigned bands often couldn't afford to put out a whole album.) And the emergence of the EP (sometimes just a 7 inch with 3 or more songs -- but often as not a 10" or later a 12" [12" for economy of scale reasons]) helped weaken the hegemony of the album format.

                          The CD, of course, changed things back... a CD single typically was a bad economic deal -- and people who'd become spoiled by the relatively trouble-free play of CDs and cassettes (a whole album without side flipping, etc) did not warm back up to pulling a CD out of the player every few songs.


                          The new supremacy of the single song started in the late 90s, seems to me, with the explosion of downloading (legal and otherwise) and continued as Apple succeeded with their iTunes store model.

                          When I first got my subscription service I went NUTS putting together elaborate sets of single songs... putting them together like a DJ.

                          I could entertain myself for hours, just browsing and throwing in song after song.

                          It was like a return to the "good ol' days" when my friends and I used to sit around and just put on one track or album after another and just sit there and listen (and occasionally make an insightful critical comment like, "Heavy, man.")

                          But as the novelty of having huge online stacks to choose from has faded a bit, I find myself "rediscovering" some of those old albums (and some new ones, too).

                          There IS much to be said for a well-crafted and coherently thought out album experience...


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                          The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

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                          • #14
                            Eclectic?
                            Maybe if the list looked like this:

                            Cream, NRBQ, James Brown, Sun Ra, Igor Stravinsky, John Coltrane, Flatt & Scruggs, Hank Williams, Gustav Holst, Howlin' Wolf, Balinese Gamelan.

                            All of which I soon discovered after getting hooked on music in my teens.
                            And I'll bet most of the people on this forum have similar eclectic tastes.
                            So, no, I do not think the younger generation has more of a choice or a more "eclectic" taste in music than anyone that ever loved music has.
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                            • #15
                              Between satellite radio and downloads, a lot of people's lists do look like that - and the point is that it is becoming far more common. When I look at people's iPods or ask what they have, it's a fantastic array of stuff.

                              The last several CDs (I don't have an iPod) I've listened to include: Gnawa trance music of Morocco, System of a Down, Chili Peppers, Music of the Miao People (group of people in the Yunnan Province of China that play their music in reeds made of grass), field recordings from Rwanda, Radiohead, Juana Molina, Brightblack Morning Light, Lavender Diamond, Ornette Coleman, Panama Funk of the '70s compilation, Ralph Stanley, Javanese gamelan, Scientist (dub), Bob Marley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gyorgy Ligeti, and '80s New Wave.

                              It's been a slow week for music because I've been working on my house.
                              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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