Spotify Killed the Video Star

In 2007, I was an intern at Magnum Broadcasting in State College, PA. That experience was wonderful and I still have lifelong friends from the experience. I learned a LOT about business, digestible media, and how commerce can be strange bedfellows with neighborhoods & citizenship. I can say, with certainty, that experience with Magnum Broadcasting put me on the path to do the things I’ve done, & I’m grateful.

Blame it on the neurodivergence, but I need a specific type of music in my ear while I’m working, to get the most out of my work day. I’m a kid, hardly twenty-one years old, I’ve got a cheap MP3 player I bought from winnings on a scratch-off, & I am working away. The General Manager, Diana (who looks remarkably like a young Linda Hamilton) comes into the room I was working in, & she’s not happy. She points out how bad it would look if an advertiser were to come in and see me listening to anything other than what the company is putting out on the air. As soon as she said it, it made perfect sense. I wouldn’t have had the first clue before that. That’s the kind of common sense I learned that has taken me places in business.

I was reminded of that story while I was cruising through a playlist on Spotify, on my phone, that I can play anywhere because of my data plan. The time between today and my internship is roughly fifteen years and it’s amazing how much media has changed in such a relatively short amount of time. The iPod, which was cutting-edge technology fifteen years ago, is a dinosaur by today’s standards.

Think about this: the vinyl record was available commercially in 1935. In another thirteen years, the vinyl record will be one hundred years old. The cassette tape was invented in 1963. The vinyl record didn’t see a dip in popularity until the 1980s, seeing a hay-day of about fifty years. Even with the advent of cassette tapes, vinyl records were still going strong. The cassette became king in the 1980s and the Compact Disc (CD) hit the shelves in the early 1990s. Most major manufacturers of cassettes halted production in the very early 2000s, still competitive with the CD for about ten years. The iPod was commercially released in 2001—I was still buying CDs at the time—and CDs went on the decline. The point of that story is that the relative space between vinyl and the iPod is massive considering the space between the iPod and Spotify.

My nostalgic brain explodes when I realize that I can find just about any song ever recorded between Spotify & YouTube. That same brain would also sit by a radio in the early 90s, with a cassette tape in the deck, waiting to hit record for my favorite song to come on so I could capture it. I think part of this blog is to document the generational paradigm shift in digestible media. What will people be listening to in the next fifteen years? It’s an exciting time to be alive.

What was once old is becoming new again. I have started buying vinyl records & cassettes, mostly for nostalgia. Everything considered, I really do appreciate the flexibility and ease of access that Spotify affords.

Thank you for tripping the light fantastic with me on this trip across the Millerverse, I’ll see you next time!

Songs listened to while writing this blog:

  1. “Steady as She Goes” – the Raconteurs
  2. “Wolf Like Me” – TV on the Radio
  3. “Reptilia” – the Strokes
  4. “Little Sister” – Queens of the Stone Age

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