Clearing out a box in the garage today, I came across this collection. I had quite forgotten how many years I had subscribed to the BBC Music Magazine, with its CD on the cover. Most of these CDs, I have never listened to – or maybe once. Some of them are still in the original plastic wrapping.
It made me think abou thow we value recorded music. Or rather, how we don’t any more. I heard an interview with the lead singer of Skerryvore on the radio, in which he observed that streaming fees aren’t enough to pay for a band these days. How did we get to this stage? When did music of all forms become so commoditised that even a successful band cannot pay the bills from recordings of its music?
I think maybe it was around the time that magazines like this started. Recorded music was so cheap you could stick it onto the front cover of a zero-rated magazine. Prior to that we were warned that “Home Taping Is Killing Music”, but the only reason we taped music was because it was so valuable to us. Music meant something. I remember walking in a loop round John Menzies, W H Smith, HMV and Virgin waiting for one of them to get its delivery of CDs of “Phantom Of The Opera”. Do people go to any efforts now for new music? Or is it just soomething that we see advertised on the front page of Spotify, that we stream for our £15 per family per month, perhaps hardly listening to it or paying it the attention it deserves as a work of art and the pinnacle of years of hard work and practice?
When lockdown is over I hope that I will be able and willing to make the effort to go to the theatre more, to go to small venues and listen to local folk bands, to going to piano recitals in the Town Hall and touring opera and ballet at Linlithgow Academy. To get back to valuing music and performance, musicians and performers. I am as bad as anyone else for simply streaming albums from Apple Music, but maybe I can be a little better.