Photo of the author in the 80s courtesy of Larry Tyler
So the new i-pod can store 10,000 songs. Does anybody really have 10,000 favourite songs? Personally, it would be easier to find 10,000 songs that I hate than 1,000 that are actually worth storing on a portable music player.
Music doesn’t have the same currency as it once did. Since record companies figured out that there’s more money to be made by a chart topping debut artist than with the demands and renegotiations of an established artist, the turnover of pop stars has become faster and faster. Consequently music has become safer in that it is more and more of the same. In the early 1900s, aviators were the pop stars of the day. To fly a plane was the most amazing thing going at the time. These days who gives a shit about aviators? Anybody can learn to fly. Music is similar. We marvelled at the talents of Elvis, Patsy Cline and The Beatles because their music was good and it was a lot more difficult to make a good sounding record in those days. Technology has made it possible for even the worst singer in the world to have a hit record, especially if that singer has good abs. Since anybody can do it, making music is no longer the big deal it once was. Who gives a shit about musicians? Rock ‘n’ roll and pop music were harder beasts to locate when I was growing up. Radio stations 3XY and 3AK were the only ones playing it. Mum and Dad were listening to old people music and since there was pretty much no pop music on TV, it was a far bigger deal to go and see a band live. Today we can’t escape pop music, pretty much every TV ad uses it, nearly every radio station plays it, every program—even the news—has some portion of it enhanced by music. After being saturated with pop music 24/7 can anybody really get excited about seeing a band? Why would I want to store 10,000 songs on an i-pod knowing that 9,000 of them actually shit me, when each week I probably hear 9,000 songs that shit me without even owning one? Sportsmen are the pop stars of today and they will remain so until somebody invents a machine that can kick a ball, bowl a googly, tackle and slam dunk. They could call it the i-sport! That would be better value than a god damn i-pod.