Live Music More Important Than Recorded Music In 2013

Written by | June 14, 2013 0:06 am | No Comments


Live switches places with recorded











rock nyc is called live and recorded but what it is, or was meant to be, was live and RECORDED. From my earliest to my most recent musical experiences the recorded has taken precedent over the live. As I kid I had no option, I saw my first live show at the age of six, but I was born with music coming n my ears.

And I am sure my experience of music was average though maybe extreme. Ever since the advent of vinyl with its ease of distribution, music has been a  recorded experience. Look at it this way. How many people have listened to the Beatles? Now how many people have seen them live?

Also, recorded music is an experience capable of being returned to over and over again while live music is by definition ephemeral.

So ever since the distribution of music was established, and the vinyl format  the 33 and 1/3 institutionalized, recorded music was where it was at.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the record store and streaming music changed the way  we consumed music. I don’t simply mean the instant gratification of modern music consumption, but also the traditions and the rituals of popular music consumption: what happened to recorded music is the equivalent of taking the Mass out of Catholicism, it stripped the music of its mystery,

Me? Over the past five years or so the live musical experience has taken the place of the recorded one. I can remember the sea change and would claim that it lead to this website. I hadn’t written about music in nearly 20 years when in February 2009 (two months before this website went on line) I went to see:

Van Morrison twice

Paul Simon

Titus Andronicus

Los Campesinos

And I really wanted to share my impressions of them, which maybe wasn’t surprising, but none of them were recorded and though I didn’t notice it at the time, it was odd that live music would be one of the spurs to my interest in writing about rock again.

Fast forward to Tuesday and I was thinking through the past couple of days in music. I had seen a handful of great (and any number of less great) shows over the previous week:

The National

Robert Delong

Icona Pop

Fucked Up

Paul McCartney

Kanye West

And I was listening to the new releases for the week, and I realized, the live experience had been  more satisfying than the recorded experience . All the things I had lost in recorded hadn’t changed so much in a live show. Same thing, same moments of excitement before exaltation or disappointment, the element of the finite, the same proximity to fame, the implication of intimacy where none exists

In 2013, consuming music is a nightmare. It is hard to know where to start. But live music is like an old  friend: its consistency of ritual is a type of form. The two experiences have switched place, recorded music is here and gone and live music is a constant.

In 2013, the recorded music is gone before you know it and the live music is more important, it frames the musician outside the ethereal must own record and into the consistency of sound.


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