Heard something good these days? It’s a critical query. For music lovers, there has by no means been a higher premium on a good suggestion. I’m a part of a month-to-month ‘Album Membership’ by which a bunch of – okay, balding, middle-aged – males get collectively and hearken to a file. The issue is just not selecting classics from the previous, it’s discovering one thing for the longer term.
But there has by no means been extra new music at our fingertips. Providers like Spotify and Apple Music imply that your new favorite band is prone to be already sitting there in your telephone, simply ready to dazzle. Within the 80s and 90s the Billboard 200, America’s singles chart, featured round 500 totally different artists a yr; 30,000 new albums could be launched each 12 months.
By 2015 each of these numbers had doubled. Now, in an age when anybody with an web connection can ‘launch’ a music or an album, new music spumes like a gusher. In February this yr, as a part of Spotify’s ‘Stream On’ occasion, the corporate introduced with satisfaction that greater than 60,000 new tracks at the moment are being ingested by its platform each single day. That’s 22 million tracks a yr or a brand new single each 1.4 seconds.
There are greater than 8 million of what Spotify calls ‘Creators’ on its system, up from 5 million in 2018. “I imagine that by 2025, we may have as many as 50 million creators on our platform, whose artwork is loved by a billion customers world wide,” mentioned Spotify’s founder Daniel Ek. “That’s not a prediction or a purpose: it’s actually each a problem, and a terrific alternative.”
To me this feels like a menace. If the quantity of music being uploaded to Spotify grows on the similar price because the variety of ‘creators’ on Spotify then by 2025 round 375,000 new tracks will probably be being disgorged on daily basis. That’s roughly 137 million new tracks yearly. Sidenote: there are round 38 million minutes within the common human life, together with sleep. The spiralling numbers are the kind of factor that might make you need to surrender on ever discovering that nice new band altogether – with a haystack that giant, who’d be a needle finder? Music lovers need assistance.
Thirty years in the past assist got here from pals, however principally it got here from the radio. Once I was a youngster, John Peel was Britain’s final music curator, together with his reside periods and late evening meanderings, however there have been loads of different crate-diggers on the market to assist separate wheat from chaff. I had shoeboxes stuffed with C90 cassettes of Pete Tong’s Important Choice (notice the title) and Tim Westwood’s Rap Present. Jo Whiley, Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe and later Annie Mac all served as filters and champions, and the second once they began publishing Radio 1 playlists in dance magazines was seminal for me. Hear observe, establish observe, purchase observe. Then impress pals with depth and variety of music data and capacious file assortment. There was a cache to being the one who launched so-and-so to what would develop into their subsequent obsession, as if you happen to’d hooked them up with a keeper.