In the days of door-to-door salesmen you were asked if you had a moment of time to spare to listen about the latest and greatest products. You could give a polite no thank you or not even answer the door. You had the choice, without having to do too much, to avoid advertising in your home. Sure, there were, and still are, advertisements in magazines and on the television but these are easily skipped over, muted, or otherwise ignored. Today advertisements have snuck into your home without permission and must be bought off. Enjoy music? Not only are there commercials but sponsored episodes. Streaming movies? Even the ones you pay for now have commercials. Even when the commercials aren’t playing there are advertisements stuck in the corners, waiting to lure you to some website that has just the product that will make you happier because of reasons specific to your browsing history.
Not only are these advertisements persistent, they are smart. Now if you use something for free it is because they are collecting your information that the advertisers then use expertly to show the ads that are the most likely to result in a sale for someone of your profile. I’m not talking ‘we have 4 options which one will they like best?’ I’m talking about dozens of advertisers with numerous options ready to spring at your latest interests.
We’ve been well conditioned in the ways of immediate pleasures. We are so used to being shown only that which we like that we expect it. We skip songs at lightning speed to get to the one we actually want to listen to. We expect new and fast. It has become the norm to download 1 or 2 of your favorite songs from an album and only listen to the other songs when you’re on shuffle. How often do we listen to playlists of various artist vs how often to we listen to actual albums?
Something has been lost in all this.
If you listen to albums in their entirety, you’ll notice that they reflect themselves. There’s a first half, often ending in a lull or a song that is notable different from the rest, and there’s a second half that ends with a specific mood leaving you with a sense of fulfillment or longing. This is from when albums came out on vinyl. You cannot skip ahead on vinyl. You start with one side or the other and must start at the beginning. This meant artists didn’t just write songs, they crafted albums. When you let the artist’s work speak in the way it was intended you find a different kind of enjoyment. Now you have the full story.
There is another wonderful thing about vinyls, they aren’t connected to the internet. There are no commercials. There isn’t something looming in the corner of your vision waiting for you to succumb to your designed impulses. You aren’t being manipulated or watched to accomplish another sale.
Being at home, enjoying what you wish fully without outside manipulation, is something we now have to plan out. We must put our phones on mute, turn off the computer and fight our urges to check for notifications. Life is more than impulses and advertisements.
So, I’m buying vinyls for my sanity and for the artists to have a chance to tell their stories. I’m choosing to step away from reflexes that were taught to me for profit. It’s a slow process but the beauty of it seems to last longer.