top of page

Are Streaming Platforms Killing the Character of Music?

Photo by Markus Spiske

In an era dominated by the convenience of streaming platforms, music enthusiasts often find themselves reminiscing about the tangible joy of opening a vinyl record or a compact disc. As technology propels us into an age of instant access and limitless choices, a growing sentiment emerges: are streaming platforms slowly eroding the cherished character of music?

The experience of physically holding an album, carefully sliding it out of its sleeve, and placing the needle on the vinyl is a ritual that resonates with a generation that witnessed the evolution of music formats. The tangible connection with an artist's work, the album artwork, and the linear sequence of tracks all contributed to a unique and immersive experience. With the rise of streaming services, this intimate relationship with music has been replaced by algorithms and playlists, raising concerns about the impact on the essence of musical artistry.

Photo by Alyona Pastukhova

One of the primary criticisms of streaming platforms lies in their algorithm-driven recommendations. While they promise personalized playlists based on listening habits, there's a risk of narrowing down musical exploration. The joy of stumbling upon a hidden gem while browsing through record store shelves is replaced by algorithms predicting what a listener might like based on previous choices. This raises questions about the discovery of diverse and unconventional music, a feature that defined the charm of exploring physical music collections.

Moreover, the shift towards streaming has led to a decline in album consumption. The art of crafting a cohesive collection of songs that narrate a story or convey a thematic message is fading away in favour

of individual track popularity. Artists may be compelled to prioritize singles over albums, potentially compromising the depth and complexity that a full-length record can offer.

The tangible aspect of owning music is also lost in the digital realm. The thrill of unwrapping a new vinyl or CD, carefully studying the album art, and reading through liner notes contributed to a sense of ownership and connection. Streaming, on the other hand, provides a more ephemeral and intangible experience, raising concerns about the commodification of music as a disposable, easily replaceable commodity.

While streaming platforms undeniably offer unparalleled accessibility and convenience, there is a growing sentiment that they risk diluting the character of music. The convenience of instant access comes at the cost of sacrificing the tangible, immersive, and personal experiences that physical formats once provided.

As we navigate the digital age of music consumption, it's essential to ponder whether the convenience of streaming is reshaping our relationship with music or if it's diminishing the very essence that made music a cherished and deeply personal art form.

Lee Holden-Rushworth (Review Zoo)


bottom of page