The Next Track, Episode #232 – How People Listen to Music Today

Doug and Kirk take a look at how people listen to music today, with lots of statistics.

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2 thoughts on “The Next Track, Episode #232 – How People Listen to Music Today

  1. OK, Kirk.

    I’m writing this as I listen to Jacob’s Ladder, the Brad Mehldau album you mentioned in this last podcast of The Next Track. Interesting so far… if only the girl could sing.

    You and Doug were discussing the historical aspects of how music has been listened to over the last few decades. I was born in the late ‘40s, and so I’ve got a lot of listening under my belt, or under the bridge. I’ve owned stacks of 45 rpms, LPs and EPs (remember those?), cassettes and those terrible 8-tracks, CDs, and now of course among the digitals, .aiff, .aac and .mp3 versions.

    I come from a demographic when, back in the ’60s, I frequented a music store in my hometown where you could go in and request listening to a new LP by yourself in an enclosed sound-proof booth—before you decided to purchase the record.

    What I noticed most about your podcast this week were the statistics you quoted for how music was listened to, broken down by usage or usage device of the end user. Funny how we now say “end user” in this digital age, whereas in decades past it was merely “customer”.

    Nothing earth-shattering in my comments submission, just observations. I enjoy listening to the podcasts and learn something each time, but this time feel the need to comment.

    You mentioned audiobooks, and according to the stats, they peaked in 2019, maybe because of the pandemic. Years ago a friend of mine gave me a box full of cassettes—all audiobooks. I tried listening to them in my car driving home from work. I found myself so absorbed in the storylines, that twice I drove past my exit on the freeway. So those didn’t get much airplay. Playing them at home was not possible because then I had two young children at home and my wife and I had different work schedules.

    Mehldau’s album is almost half-over, and it sounds like a musical experiment. I used to like his interpretations when he played with Pat Metheny.

    Back to audiobooks, I’m one of those who is old school in that I still occasionally will buy an actual book, as opposed to a Kindle version or audiobook. But I have to confess my growing preference for Kindle versions. Those have built-in aspects (including searches for names and text) that are hard for me to ignore.

    I have a relative nearby who’s been restoring a 1968 Corvette. That car has an original AM-FM radio. Seeing what he has, I offered a couple websites that have digital additions to AM-FM radios (such as USB inputs) that fit his car. But he’s a purist who will not install those non-stock items, but instead will consider plug-in additions (FM enhancers plugged into the cigarette lighter input).

    You and Doug mentioned Pandora and Spotify. I tried Pandora several years ago and hated it because I am also a purist in that I like listening to Mozart, but not presented with Haydn and Shubert in the same playlist. I like to control what I listen to at home and at times while driving. So I generally will listen to my own playlists on Music either at home or while driving, and when I do drive more than a few miles will plug in a new SSD iPod loaded with several playlists. Other times, for shorter trips, I’ll listen to SiriusXM radio tuned to classical or jazz. The DJs on those channels add knowledge to what you’re listening to, which does not exist on Pandora.

    I feel Apple Music is outstanding in its offerings. They don’t have everything available, but they do pretty well. Sometimes I’ll grab Audio Hijack and record something off youtube.com, but those generally lack sufficient audio quality to keep.

    I’ve played all of the Mehldau meltdown now. Uh…

    So I’ve given you my view of some of the topics mentioned in today’s podcast. From my perspective, I think you two should conduct your own poll in how people listen to music. Because people who listen to The Next Track are not your average listener. Your listeners have more critical tastes and more critical listening devices. (I myself bought a set of Beyerdynamic headphones because Doug likes them so much, and I had to find out why, and he’s right.)

    I mean, I feel I’m an audiophile of sorts, and listening critically to music is like an indoor sport. I attend classical concerts whenever possible down here in Sarasota, Florida.

    Thanks for reading this.

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