The music we play


Vinyl, cassette tapes, CDs, and MP3s were at one point mass produced. They were placeholders, meant to expire at the mercy of technological change and evolving listening habits.

So if we take the stream, a file-type that's in infinite cloud-based inventory, what type of file emerges next?

The next development will focus on the quality of sound, just as mobile cameras improve the quality of resolution. And like photography's countless editing tools, we'll be able to work backward to tweak or filter out the type of sound we want to hear.


For instance, we can manipulate music files so they project a sound mimicking vinyl's surface noise. We reshape it, like putting a black and white or red preset on an image.

The next evolution of music is therefore a personalized sensory experience, whether you want to hear sound in its cracked, hissy, compressed, raw state, or in its mass-marketed radio format.

Music will always be the “killer app” that people make their own.


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Why silence is golden

silence the mind
Silence the mind

“Silence is a great canvass for your thoughts,” entrepreneur and musician/author Derek Sivers proclaimed. He's right. But to understand why, we need to go deeper.

Serenity now 

We live in a world of external distractions, more annoying than the incessant ringing of our phones. According to a 2013 study, children who grow up near airports or noisy urban areas can become immune to stress-inducing sounds, impairing their ability to detect speech in conversation. Says Cornell university researcher Gary W. Evans, spearheading the study:

“even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans”

In another study, silence has shown to more effective at releasing tension than relaxing to soothing music. In fact, silence does more than release stress and tension-it literally regrows neurons. No wonder mindfulness meditation is all the rage!

Silence is golden

Silence can rewire your brain and liberate our unconscious, stoking the imagination. We can paint the silence with our thoughts and tap into the creative parts of our brain.

“As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

Throw in some earplugs and quiet the mind so the soul can speak. Shhhhhh.

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

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How colored noise helps you focus and relax

Color can also be used to describe sounds. Here's how our brain processes white, pink, and brown colored noises:

  • White noise has both high intensity and frequency. It's the best to listen to while studying.
  • Pink noise has a lower frequency. It's recommended to listen to this sound while relaxing. It's also shown to increase memory if you listen to it while sleeping.
  • Brown noise has the lowest sound frequencies, like a distant waterfall. Use this to go deeper into relaxation on your way into sleeping or relieving a headache.

“White, pink, and brown noise — playing across all frequencies — are like muffling blankets of sound.”

If you still can't seem to relax, consider planting more trees or going on nature walks.

 

 


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Experience Duplication

Listen to Jazz while working through New York? Listen to Reggae while chilling out on the beach?

Sometimes we want to duplicate the experience. We want to match the soundtrack with the environment. But sometimes we want to differentiate the experience so we level out the stimulation. We may listen to Reggae while walking through New York and Jazz when relaxing on the beach.

Music is so powerful it has the ability to add to or subtract from the experience. When we remove the music we’re at the mercy of nature and man-made distractions.


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Amar G. Bose: ‘I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.’

“I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”

RIP Amar G. Bose, creator of Bose.

I didn’t know this man was behind the brand.

He always made superior products that looked like Apple’s, in design and quality.


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The Ebb and Flow of Train Chatter

If you take a snapshot of train chatter you'd see that it gradually rises from the morning on, peaking in the evening. Even the uptick in sound between 7 and 8AM is noticeable.

People care less about you and more about their own privacy in the morning. Direct conversations are virtually disallowed, as are phone calls. Texting is the preferred method of all interaction.

The most significant noise makers in the mornings are the squealing and grinding of the train tracks competing against the loud overhead fans.

As the afternoon approaches the train gathers less people but louder mouths. Feet make their way on the seats. Cell phones ring. Headphone music gets louder. Laissez-faire defines the afternoon.

The evening, especially Friday evening, is a bit of a free for all. The work stops, the drinks pop, the mobile fingers get more aggressive as people respond across social networks and like everything in their feed. Everyone knows each other's weekend plans.

People unwind as the days lives on; the rules get looser with time. Life resets daily with the emergence of noise.


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  • People still listen to terrestrial radio to discover new music
  • YouTube is a significant music discovery source, primarily because it's free (ad-supported)
  • iTunes is still a major player from a jukebox standpoint.  This doesn't mean people are downloading music from the iTunes Music Store.  
  • CDs are still relevant, somehow.  I'd love to see a number here for the increase in vinyl sales
  • All this mobile music consumption has created a need for headphones that cost as much as Jordan sneakers.

Check out the rest of the Sol Republic's report


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