18 Comments
Oct 22, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Jasmine Sun, Izzy Ampil

It is interesting to me how flows of capital energize engagement. Back in the early 1990s, we were paying 17 or 18 dollars for the latest CD release. With inflation that is the equivalent of 34 or 35 dollars in todays money. Wow!!! Now that I can pay 10 bucks for a whole world of music, the savor of the individual track seems to have diminished. Don’t get me wrong! I still get hit by individual songs, but the pay structure doesn’t necessitate I keep listening to that track or album over and over again until I can afford the next one as it did with CDs. It is kinda sad and humbling to realize your biggest loves were driven somewhat by market dynamics. And yet, from this vantage point, I wouldn’t trade them for any other loves!

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Jasmine Sun, Izzy Ampil

this really resonated with me as I've also been contemplating about deleting my spotify throughout this month. like you, I also have dozens of playlists encompassing several music genre. I've been called the playlist architect, curator of vibes and tastemaker by friends in group chats (have made wedding playlists for a friend and my sister in the past). but at some point, the frictionless ease of music takes the element of wonder out of it. if it is available to me 24/7 then I don't appreciate the art as much. maybe i'll do it after backing up these podcast episodes and all these hidden gem type international singers i've found over the years. i should get to it :) thank you for writing an excellent piece. it reminded me of the now-defunct real life magazine (from snap)

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so happy to hear it resonated! happily if you just downgrade spotify to free you can always upgrade again later...but yes, was definitely in search of an infrastructural change that would force me to think of music as more precious and less infinite—in support of whatever gets you there! let me know what you come up with, & in the meantime, i will check out real life!

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ok so just following up on this comment from a few months ago, I did delete spotify. my profile was completely gone by early Nov. I resorted to do nothing with other music platforms. I didn't rush to youtube music or others. I didn't have strong withdrawal symptoms for someone who uses the music app five times a week.

I think the geopolitical situation at the time and work stuff didn't make it feel like I was missing out. I recently spent 1-2 hrs listening to some music after like 2.5 months of not listening to anything and the experience was like rewiring my brain with pleasure. it felt very nice but also just goes to show that you can do it! I did take screenshots of all my beloved, meticulously crafted playlists but I'm ok with not being the resident vibe curator at all times. obliviousness to new music has its own charm because it means the next time i'm really craving a listening session, i can do some digging around, i can ask my friends and loved ones for whatever they are listening to.

in short, i am choosing to be oblivious and not having my pulse on what's happening in the music scene.

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Izzy Ampil

You need an mp3 player! Plenty of iPod Classics on eBay

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oooh....a sequel essay!

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Jasmine Sun, Izzy Ampil

While reading this, I immediately thought of this 2017 article from Liz Pelly (i see you linked to a different one of hers at the bottom): https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-problem-with-muzak-pelly

Ultimately I still use Spotify but similar to the writer, I have created some concrete rules for how I consume on the platform. In simple terms: I use a playlist called “get to this eventually” to basically queue up music I come across from basically everywhere else on the web and IRL. And then I eventually get to it, decide if i like it, and add it to a playlist for that year.

I do miss CDs though - especially in my car!

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Oct 22, 2023·edited Oct 22, 2023Author

Liz Pelly, goddéss! I love her & I adore the Baffler. I'm curious—do you have rules for how you use your "get to this eventually" playlist? I've experimented with the aggregate-everything playlist and I find it kind of stresses me out; I get overwhelmed feeling like I have to decide if I like a track enough to "promote" it out of the dump playlist into its own curated one...if you have workarounds for this kind of neurosis I am certainly all ears.

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Sadly I don’t. I used to work in the biz and took my cataloging really seriously. Now I’ve just accepted that my playlist/organizational structure is going to remain a mess 🤷🏾‍♂️ I also end up going back to my “get to this” playlist often, even to things that don’t make the cut into a more distinct playlist. Not a great solution/consistency. Miss my iPod tbh lol

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Izzy Ampil

To buy a new Cd: the inherent risk of it back in the day. What would it contain? Everything or nothing? You only had enough money for one every other week. You had to make the right choice. I am definitely happy I got to experience music that way. Musical value enhanced in the clutches of an older economic regime!

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Oh yes! Have definitely experienced the risk...a friend of mine bought me a Joni Mitchell CD at a thrift store recently, but it turned out to be empty—quite literally contained nothing. But there is something so satisfying about deliberately constructing your taste by deciding where to spend your money; it really forces you to consider what you love and why. That's what I keep looking for!!

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Oct 24, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Izzy Ampil

This resonated with me deeply and I'm glad that Substack pushed it to me. Computing Taste is now on my to read list.

I also wanted to let you know that I think you've misgendered Adrienne Lenker, possibly based on her appearance. All material I've ever read about her uses she/her, which is also what her Instagram currently states.

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Thank you for this note. We've updated the article to address it and update Adrianne Lenker's pronouns.

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i’m def an enthusiastic proponent of the gender-flexible “they,” but more than happy to respect lenker’s chosen self-definition in the public eye—thanks for reading closely, and thanks jay+reboot for updating!

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Oct 24, 2023Liked by Izzy Ampil

enjoyed reading this! you’re right, we can open up multiple pathways for discovery rather than less. my favorite way of diversifying is bandcamp. seeing what good fans, artists and radio djs are buying opens up a new world.

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i honestly need to spend more time on bandcamp!! what’s your fav discovery mode on there? i’m always on the lookout for new pathways these days!

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been so good for doing community radio (another great place). my music feed is a nice place now that I’m following heaps accounts. I also like the bandcamp weekly show but might not be to everyone’s tastes :)

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deletedOct 21, 2023Liked by jacob sujin kuppermann, Izzy Ampil
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I'll reciprocate the encouragement—absolutely keep Spotify! A much sadder consequence would be quitting Spotify for its own sake only to cut off your love of music completely...

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