This is Not a Post about Michael Jackson

But it is about music.

One thing that technology has done to music is the decline of shared musical spaces. Years ago, it was habit for me to bring a boom box and a pile of tapes or CDs to the office & play music every day. Music was a shared experience — coworkers would bring in and trade CDs, vote some stuff on or off the playlist, even make office mix tapes. It wasn’t a paradise — especially when your co-workers had very different musical tastes — but it was more social.

Now, each of us sits at our desks plugged into our own private music streams. Nobody has to argue about whether or not [Band X] is good work music, or negotiate a preferred volume level — but also we’re more isolated from each other.

On the whole I’m not sure it’s a step in the right direction.

4 thoughts on “This is Not a Post about Michael Jackson”

  1. Pingback: Twitted by rlux
  2. Technology is such a double edge sword. With the ease and convenience come some strange and sometimes devastating consequences.

    I haven’t heard this theory applied to the office music selection, but I completely agree! The same “loss of community” happened with the wide spread use of air conditioning. We started staying in more and hanging out on the porch less, becoming more secluded from our neighbours.

    You really have to make an effort it seems to be social in person in today’s world. Even if you DO get together with friends/neighbours we aren’t always as sociable as we could be. Try this, next time you are out with “your group” or even a new group…count how many times folks seek looks at their phones. Or even just pull them out and start typing away, even if they are someone else is talking. It is amazing.

    thanks for the food for though.

  3. I have to agree. With music being digital and locked in walled gardens, it does make it harder to share. And of course by share, I mean expose your friends to what you’re listening to, not giving them free music.

    There were sites like and that took a stab at it, but they were sued out of business. The only other alternatives appear to be Pandora, or, which I see in your sidebar.

    However, I did stumble upon last week that looks very impressive. It’s like in that you can play specific songs, build playlists, etc., but you can also share what you’re listening to with direct links. It’s pretty cool.

    For example, a friend of mine just stumbled on to “So Beautiful” by Pete Murray and shared it with me by sending a simple link.

    It may not be the same thing as what you had before at your office, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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