Why I Heart My Media

Starting this blog on why I love my media, I think it is important to clarify that I don’t. Depending on how you want to define love. Wikipedia defines love as an “Intense feeling of deep affection”, which really doesn’t quite capture my feelings towards media. I have developed a dependency upon media, and thus, I would rather describe it as a love-hate relationship, similar to one a drug addict has to his drug. I love my media because of the many comfortable benefits I gain from them, but I hate the fact that I seem to have no control over how much I use my media. Going into all the different media I use would take up too much space, so I’d like to demonstrate my media use through one specific example, my relationship with music.

I use the App “Spotify” to listen to music. What I love about Spotify is how easily it enables me to access music. I often imagine a time before radio, before iPods and before Spotify, in which music wasn’t something that accompanied people on their way to work or to their home. Music wasn’t just music, it was an event, a place where people would gather to listen to a group of people playing music. It would almost represent this sort of escape from everyday life that had to be experienced live.

Music today is unlimited. It is mind-boggling to think that today almost all of music is somehow stored in a cloud and without the presence of any musicians, I can just pop two little devices in my ears, and enjoy music no matter where I am, if it’s on a walk, at a Café or on the toilet even, and no matter what time it is, in the morning, in my lunch break or before I fall asleep. Also, there are no restrictions in what kind of music I would like to listen to. I can listen to an Erroll Garner Record that was recorded in a Chicago Jazz club in the 1950s, I can listen to Latin Music from the 1980s or I can choose from any artists today, and in that way I can somewhat, based on my own personal taste, choose what kind of reality I want to live in, by choosing the musical theme of my own life.

However, this also comes with its own drawbacks. I often wonder if this unlimited access to all of music is the reason why I never felt particularly compelled to make music myself. Because why make music myself when I can already listen to anything I want at any time I want? Not only that but the music will always sound perfect, cause it has almost always been recorded in a studio, where all the sounds were synched up, edited and packaged into this perfect entity. Whereas if I picked up an instrument myself, I would have to make the painful realization, that it doesn’t always sound perfect. And maybe, it shouldn’t.

Another worry I have is that since the access is unlimited, I also use it maybe more than I should. I once had a very frightening experience, where I and a couple of friends smoked some Marijuana, which turned out to be very strong. The effect of the drug threw me in this state of mind, where I continually over assessed not only my whole life but my demeanor in that moment, and I couldn’t control my thinking branching out into more and more anxious and questioning thoughts. It was a terrifying loss of my grip on reality. Whatever my head was coming up with, I did not want to see it. So in an act of desperation, I had this idea to play some music, more specifically I played “Breathe” by Pink Floyd. And I remember just suddenly feeling safe inside that melody. I closed my eyes and almost let the music drain out my thoughts and I focused to simply let my body go with the melody. The music let me escape from my own thoughts. Now, I am mostly sober though, and usually my thoughts do not immediately run to insecurities and fears, but I still listen to music on almost every opportunity that I can. Hell, I am even listening to music while I’m writing this blog. And I’m frightened, not of my own thoughts but that I might be doing the same thing I did while I was under the effect of Marijuana. Am I just innocently listening to music or am I washing away my own thoughts, my own daydreams, my own ideas?

So that’s my concern. I worry that the ubiquity of, not only Spotify, but all media might deprive me of my ability to just be with myself, to be with silence and let my thoughts linger and unfold. After all, who am I if I am never alone?

Georges Degoumois, 13257676


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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