Doing an MA is exhausting!

Biggest yawn ever!

Hello my friends!

How’s it going? No intention to moan this time (something different I know) and I didn’t mean to yawn when taking the picture but thought it looked very funny so I decided to share the giggles.

Went up to Birmingham on Monday to attend class for the first time in “real life” and it was awesome! I mean, this MA is wicked in general, but I have to say that I was once again blown away by the fact that I have such amazing lecturers/professors. And no – this is not me sucking up, if I didn’t think that they are genuinely “all that” and a little bit more I probably wouldn’t waste my time writing about them.

Truth is that they are, and even though I’m almost 100% certain that our opinions will clash somewhere down the line on certain issues, I do feel very lucky to have them guiding me and teaching me and sometimes just reassuring me that what I’m thinking isn’t all that bad.

I guess that’s what I love most about this MA so far ¬†– it’s making me think. The only “problem” about thinking is that it’s exhausting. I mean, I’ve only been at it for 7 weeks and it’s literally mind-blowing. Not all the concepts/topics are new, but the way they are presented and the way I am required to look at and analyse them are very different from what I’m used to.

It’s difficult. Especially the idea that we have left the “electronic age” of music and entered the “digital age”, and how this shift is as significant as it was when we went from sheet music and publishers being the dominant/biggest part of music industry to records and labels.

I’ve been brought up with my foot in both worlds. I remember being addicted to my sony walkman and the endless cassette tapes I made with radio rips, of queueing outside a record shop to be one of the first people to buy a new CD album, of owning CD singles, of my dad having lots of vinyl at home, of using mini-discs because I didn’t like portable CD players because they skipped.

But I also remember the first version of Napster and how amazing I thought it was and how the the dial-up connection was slowing me down, how my friend Neil convinced me to get one of the early chunky versions of the iPod, how I used to spend endless nights ripping my CDs and downloading music and making playlists and burning them and so on.

It’s weird. I mean, I work for a company that (barely) makes money from vinyl, a physical format that sells less than CDs, in an era that supposedly has shifted to something completely different.

I’m not trying to desperately hold on to the past, because I actually like all the things that digital brings to the table. But having that said, I still don’t believe in the death of the vinyl, or the CD for that matter.

One thing I do worry about, and this is just something that I have noticed in my own behaviour, is the attention span of people when it comes to stuff online. There is so much music out there. I get bombarded with emails and tweets every day from people trying to promote a release or a band or an event or whatever, and most of the time I ignore it because I just can’t be bothered – it’s just too much.

And I know, there are plenty of recommendation and “discovery” sites out there (or “filters”) and millions ways of sharing music so I can tune in to stuff my friends or people I look up to share or are listening to. I might check that stuff out sometimes, but truth be told, I get much greater satisfaction from simply discovering something on my own. I might be the only person who feels this way, but sadly for me, that is fact.

I don’t want a million emails and tweets telling me to listen to this because of xyz, I don’t want to constantly be force fed all this music from a million directions because not only do I start ignoring it, it makes me fed up with it all. Which obviously sucks, especially when you love music as much as I do.

There is no way of escaping this online unless I change email, shut down my twitter, stop using mixcloud and similar services, stop reading blogs/music websites and so on.

And yes, you could argue that back in good ol’ days, the same thing happened but in a different way. You were fed music by radio and you’d buy the records your favourite DJ/presenter was playing, if you had a regular shop you visited, the people behind the counter would put records away for you and recommend them for you to buy, you’d read specific magazines to see what bands were hot, what records to buy to be cool etc.

I’m not sure where I am going with all this… but I do kind of feel like I have to somehow be able to separate myself from all these personal feelings/thoughts in order to be able to do something useful on this MA course.

Why? Because everything has changed. Like it was pointed out the other week, and like Dubber mentioned in this week’s lecture – Google could buy the entire record industry with it’s “pocket money”. Now if that doesn’t mean anything to you, you are probably still in the frame of mind that things can “go back to the way they used to be”. They can’t and they won’t.

Many people have said this before and I completely agree – at the moment everything is up for grabs because the old rules don’t apply or work in the same way they used to. They belong to the past and we are in the present.

As for the future, I hope I can contribute to the way it will be shaped in one way or another, even if it’s just 0.00001% (or less). And if that means throwing out the old rules completely and starting from scratch then so be it, I am personally all for it because I think it’s needed.

I just need to figure out a way of being able to do that without my brain melting in the process…

2 thoughts on “Doing an MA is exhausting!”

  1. Early Submission there, please ignore.

    There’s inevitably less money from ‘traditional’ sources (Ie. Cd, vinyl etc), as more people use the laptop or mobile as the main device for music listening. There’s no escaping monetization will need to come from digital sources – the alternative is piracy which will be an utter bastard to smaller labels.

    What course are you doing out of interest?

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