With no doubt – the era of the physical media is ending. I have not bought any DVD’s or CD’s for years. Instead I have begun using services like Spotify and WiMP for listening to music. Just like many others. The idea is neat – the “entire” music backlog is available by the tip of your finger on a various devices. At least “they” claim it so. On my phone I have lots and lots of albums downloaded. One day I was listening to the band Clutch’s album “Blast Tyrant (Deluxe Edition)” on my way to work. On my ride back home the entire album was no longer available. Why? I don’t know since there’s many things to react to when it comes to streaming. Anyhow – this lead me into todays topic: “how much can streaming vendors shield us?”. And no – this isn’t related to Clutch directly.
Political music has always been around. From simple protestsongs to more “modern” music styles as punk and metal. IMHO these genres has always been centered around spreading distaste about the “system”. Some bands focus on how things can be improved – whilst other just hate. Hate might range from political wings attacking each other or attacking religions in general. But nonetheless, hate. Armed with a list over both red and blue wing punk and metal music sampled from Wikipedia I conducted a small test of my own.
The findings were collected from Spotify and WiMP. Punk focusing on anarchy, communism and socialism could easily be obtained whilst punk turning blue wasn’t. Pretty much the only thing I found was a band doing covers. Metal music focusing on anti christianity were a no brainer. There was a lot.
With this empiric data I would like to address the main topic issue. How much control do the vendors actually have? Lets conduct a thought experiment. Vendor A, B and C are competitors. A is political backed, B has a humanistic viewpoint, C is religious. Vendor A favors his views, B censors things he don’t like, and C censors everything attacking his beliefs. Which one is more allowed to shield us from what we want to listen to? I understand that the vendor wants to target his audience and that this issue is far more complex than what is feasible to cover in a single blog post. But still, with the advancement of technology it would be easy to narrow down “unwanted” music. If music genres gets washed out like this, would we ever notice since the opposing views are kept away from us? Or is it up to us to compete with the other vendors?
Back to Clutch. There’s a myriad of why’s a album could be pulled from the market. It could be a limited edition available for a limited time, the band ends the deal with the streaming service, disagreement etc. From experience, we’re never actually told why such thing happens. My thought experiment might not be the best. But the topic is interesting nonetheless.