Streaming Music and Gen X


I grew up approaching music as something you own and collect. Hear it, like it, and (if you can afford it), buy it. Ownership of media conveyed a statement, and, in a way, music purchases were subsumed into self-identity.

In the early days of streaming, I could see the change happening — music as an experience and experiences as ephemeral as sharing a mix-tape.

I liked that track by Tom Petty, but am I the kind of person who listens to Tom Petty?

Most of my music-buying experience occurred in the ’90s; there were some CDs I got rid of. I sold them because I decided I wasn’t the person who listened to a particular band or style of music anymore.

The music I listened to defined my identity and correlated with a purchase. Nowadays, it’s much easier to like something today and hate it tomorrow. Changing one’s mind has little to do with ownership, and I no longer feel a link between the music I listen to and who I am.

What does it say about someone these days when they cancel Netflix?

It says a lot.