Eddy Deegan wrote:
there may be the same number listening but they are listening less and doing more video games, streaming, and other diversions.
overall i still say there is less listening going on and certainly less listening/amount_of_'music' now being created.
Both of those things may be true.
It's very interesting to see how kids consume music nowadays with respect to the way we did back in the 80s).
First of all, they start listening to "grown up" music earlier. Due to smartphones, pads and streaming, kids jump in the "regular pop music" bandwagon much earlier.. they can man the control very easily (my 4 years old knows how to start and stop Spotify and YouTube, even if his skills in searching is, obviously, limited by the fact he can't yet read
). My 11 years old twin step-daughters have been dancing to r&b tunes for at least 4 years. And it gets easier and easier.
They still do love certain songs (said twins can sing some of these horrible pop pastiches by memory, even if truth be said what lyrics there are, are few and very simple) - but less so artists.
Long gone are radio and television: they steer what they listen to - and that's a major difference. The odds of discovering something new by random listening are very small - all listening is driven by social and peer advice and what you know. Just like in politics, it's far easier to be insular.
They absolutely listen to singles (or short pieces of singles). Albums aren't really even a concept. A song is a song, and you have a pool to listen from and you pick up from them. It so happens that they may like many songs from the same artist but it's just accidental.
Again, differently from radio, tv, tapes and vinyl - and even cds - often they listen to parts of songs, as it's incredibly easy and instantaneous to navigate. 20 seconds and on to the next. While part of this depends a bit on age (a bit older people, in their late teens and twenties tend to listen to songs a little longer) it's still present. Just have a look at young people on the subway and how often they operate their phones while listening on buds.
Imho it's not that they have short attention span: it's simply that the controls are much easier to operate and allow them to do what we wanted to, but couldn't.
Long, long gone is the hi-fi culture. It's never been really a thing for young people (whatever hifi was there, was usually dad's) but now it's really not an issue at all outside a very small niche. At most you get a nice mono bluetooth speaker which looks cool and has hipster factor, and that's as far as it goes. Vinyl is again most a hipster-y thing - to show you are different and above the mass and cool - but is still quite niche.
Of course, the social factor is still a major driver: if all friends like some artist, they will try and listen and probably like it. But it was always thus I think, nothing changes. The difference is that, since it's far less likely that you discover random music, social and word of mouth has becoming much more important than ever. If you have a litlle marketing money, use it in social-related stuff.
I also feel that there's less of the obsessive listening that we did.. by 13-14, both me and my friends were really into certain bands and albums and we were listening on repeat (or playing over, in my case) for hours. I suspect the immediate availability of immense music catalogs makes that less likely. Not sure about the 4 years old tough - these days, he could listen to "I'm blue" on repeat for hours
Video is more important than ever. YouTube and the phone/ipad screen is a major force, and visual content of some kind is paramount. This started already in our times with MTV etc but now it's become really fundamental. Without a video, a song does not exist. And it's not so crazy important that the video is amazing - only that it exists. Young people watch
songs. An unintended consequences is that looks, which always were a factor, are even more important now. Not necessary good looks, but distinctive ones.
Quality is still important. Obviously people's tastes vary a lot, so it's all in over-general terms, but these kids are not acritical: they like good stuff - only it's what they
consider good stuff, and it's different from what we did. Mostly, things must have a groove and be danceable to a degree. Since the standard four on the floor kick beat has become so enormously widespread (not that it was uncommon before), anything that doesn't have it is strange.. and strange can be either crap (often that's the result, they're humans after all) or wonderful. Which one it becomes depends, again, on social pressure. That said they love and swallow copycat music just as much as we did, only now it's hip hop and EDM instead of pop and rock.
As of sound
quality, people don't give a damn just as they never did. A few may think they do (the ones manning vinyls, often) but in general they have zero clue of what really it is.
So the recipes for getting attention are a consequence: make good music (aka music that most people like); decide to go for copycat or try something very different knowing it may be a total flop; find out how to trigger the social/word of mouth aspect any way you can; always make video productions at some level.