This blog post inspired by Chris Pirillo’s post entitled How Does Music Influence Your Life?
I can (and probably will) write a book about this. In fact before writing this I had to open up a tab to Grooveshark which in my world has completely overtaken Pandora as my music app of choice. I’m not even sure I need to buy music anymore because with this app I can set up any play list I want specifically identifying the exact songs I want to listen to. For (I think) an extra $9/month on top of the $60/year membership I can run the app on my phone which means I can take their cloud based library anywhere and listen to anything I want. So doing the math real quick (because I am all about the math on these things) it will cost me about $180/year to have access to any song I want any time I want without having to worry about where I store the library or if/how I can access it? No syncing required, just open the app, choose and play? Especially when I consider that I bill almost that much in a single hour in my business it is well worth it to me to pay the money.
The other night while I was browsing the web I came across some apparently limited time footage of Duran Duran playing here in LA at the Mayan theater. This reminded me – I hadn’t yet done a search for Duran Duran on Grooveshark so I did that and added them to their own playlist as well as to my “My Music” list. The latter list consists of everything I ever choose to like and it’s all over the Map. At a Quick glance of my list it goes from Duran Duran to band of Horses to Muse, The Shins, Frank Sinatra, Soft Cell, Pete Yorn, and 3rd Eye Blind.
I have always loved music and I am one of those people that always has to have some music going on in the background. Sometimes when I really want to get focused I will crank up the Armin Van Buuren and DJ Tiesto and with my headset on I get my tunnel vision focus going and I can crank out some really good work. This is for the situation when I know exactly what needs to be done and exactly how I want to do it and I just need to go. On the other end of that spectrum if I need to develop a formula in Excel that requires a super high degree of concentration then I take off the headset and I need total quiet. Somewhere in the middle of that is when I am just sort of relaxing at the computer and cruising, getting work done, socializing on the Internet and generally not doing anything that requires too much thought. During these times as well as times requiring concentration but not formula writing concentration you’ll find me listening to Frank Sinatra, or indie and alternative rock music like Regina Spektor, The Killers, M. Ward, & Bright Eyes.
I remember one of my teachers in High School referring to me as “that kid who always walks around with his headphones on.” He didn’t mean it in a flattering way, but I chose to take it in that spirit because that was one of the few things about me then that I really loved. I loved my Walkman. It took me away from what was going on around me. I was uncomfortable in my own skin so I generally did not like what was going on around me. Everything was about escape in those days and believe me when I say that I paid for that dearly.
For a long time I felt that music defined me. I put people in those music boxes and I think things have changed. To use a few references from my childhood and the town where I grew up on Long Island you had your WBAB classic rock types, your WPLJ and Z100 top 40 types, and then there were people like me – WLIR and later WDRE – New Wave, Punk Rock , and eventually “alternative” music lovers. Ironically (to me) by the time the music was labeled “Alternative” it had become much more main stream. The people who liked this in my experience seemed to be divided between the obvious, gothic types and then the crowd I probably fell more into (although I think I swayed back and forth) – the preppy types.
Near the end of high school and into college I was working as a DJ for a company called Joey D’s Entertainment Plus! During that time I was introduced to 50’s rock and found to my amazement that I really liked it! I liked The Big Bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others who were supposed to be reserved strictly for my parent’s generation. Still later on while I was in college I discovered The Beatles and much of the 60’s music, once again surprised to find I really liked it.
So what is it like for me today? Well I like something from just about every genre and decade. The only genre’s where my “liking” is extremely (but not entirely) limited are country music and hip hop. I used to think that music defined me. Now I believe that I define myself and as Chris Pirillo points out in his blog post on this topic, the music I listen to at any given moment is mostly a reflection of my mood.