No One is Listening but Me
It surrounds me with tentacles seeping their way into everything I do during my waking and who knows if sleeping hours, too. Music streams are carefully curated for me based on my unique listening habits. Music is powerful. I listen to the results of an algorithm carefully designed to measure the tempo and mode I prefer, and when I prefer it. Who is collecting this data? What is it to be used for? Something? Nothing? It sets my heart to beating anxiously when I think about it.
A few years back when I am moving and paring down again, I text a friend of 50 years to ask if he thinks it is time for me to let go of LPs, CDs, turntable and CD player stored in my attic now that I have fancy dancy speakers controlled by my ancient iPad. “Keep,” is his reply.
It’s so easy to click on a button while baking in the kitchen. Don’t like a song, an artist, a genre? Click on “don’t play again” or the forward arrow. Instant gratification. Cool. The message of a software update that is unsupported on the iPad shows up, and low and behold after it updates automatically the next morning, it no longer works.
Today, I pull down the granny stairs that lead up to the attic, climb up and have a look around. Everything is still here. Somewhere the cassette tapes and VHS player are, too. I bring down the B&O speakers–good ones I purchased in the mid-1970’s when I could little afford them–the Yamaha CR-620 receiver I had reconditioned before stowing it away up there–the tech said, “it will last another 25 years at least”–the Sony 5 disc CD changer, and bags and boxes full of CD’s. I set everything up. Yes, there are wires and I it is clear why the new generation of equipment is called wireless. I place a first CD in–Joni Mitchell, of course and my first thought is that the sound quality is so much better on my old vintage speakers than the wireless ones. I turn the volume up and am bathed in the emotions of Joni’s and then Karla Bonoff’s voice.
No one is keeping track of what, when, and where I listen. My listening history…like my thoughts…are my own…and will stay my own. No one is listening but me.
The curse or a blessing of the failed software? A blessing I think.