I’ve been working to transfer my iTunes library over to my Mac and a couple of random files here and there have been tripping me up. (Apparently something to do with Windows/Mac issues; not a big deal, just irritating.) So, it proceeds apace, and may even be finished by the end of the day.
The thing that grabbed me, though, was the sight of just how many music files I possessed. Sure, a number of them were sermon tracks or even audio readings of chapters from the Bible, and some were copies of voicemails or voice memos I’d made for myself. But, still, even with those aside, I had 2000+ songs on my computer, alone. And that doesn’t include the CDs I own that I have not moved onto my computer, nor the cassette tapes (yes, I still have some) I bought back when those things were bought, nor the vinyl albums (yes, I still have some) I have but have lost the ability to play, nor the eight-track cassettes… Ha! Just kidding on that one! (Though I certainly did have some of those.)
It truly is staggering how much music we can so easily access in a virtual instant in our world. And in the car, in addition to my entire iTunes Library of music that I can carry on my phone and listen to wirelessly through the car’s speakers, I can also turn on the radio and listen to an amazing variety of stations — and since it is a satellite radio, I can tune in to some rather specific stations, based on decade, genre, or even artist in some cases.
It is amazing. The presence of music was such a vastly more rare thing in the past. Really, to hear a symphony, you had to go to… a symphony. And if they weren’t playing, you weren’t hearing anything. Perhaps royalty could hear music on demand, but not many other people unless they could play for themselves. And even then, the range was greatly limited. Compared to the kings of history, I have more access to music than virtually all of them combined, to listen to at a whim.
While I think this is potentially a good thing, it is also so very potentially bad. As Mr. Armstrong used to say, the thing itself may not be good or evil, but how it is used is very much so.
Personally, I believe that the widespread availability of music, and super cheap at that, is part of what has degraded music and allowed the proliferation of complete junk. When a commodity is no longer rare, it is no longer as precious or as valuable. The concept of what is “music” has been cheapened over the decades, and much of what is produced is drivel and rot.
(As a side note… The widespread availability of music hasn’t helped the Art/Life Cycle of Doom to slow down any, either: Art chooses something on the fringe of Life to focus on, Life begins to move its center to that which Art has focused on, Art moves to something on the newly defined fringe, etc. Given the natural proclivities of carnal man, this isn’t the best cycle for civilization…)
Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad I have access to such a wide range of beautiful music. More than that, I am thankful for it. I just think it is interesting what excess there is. And I think that some of what is bad about much in “music” today is tied to the fact that it is so easily available in excess. Surely Proverbs 25:16 comes into play here — and not just personally, but is it also possible that it plays on a societal level?
Thoughts are welcome. And have a marvelous Sabbath!