The Problem with Sharing
Jokingly this Christmas, I displayed mock horror when a close friend put on a song at a party that I had sent to them a few months before. I was then subjected to an interrogation: why did it matter that he played the song? It was a good song after all.
‘Snoop Sings’ was the track, an unusual remix of Snoop vocals by Alok and Icy Sasaki – perhaps it’s because I considered it to be so good, that I wanted to preserve it, share it only with those who wouldn’t overplay it. It’s the fact no one’s willing to admit, we don’t like it when songs we found, or love, become popular. It’s the same as when an artist you have been supporting for months suddenly achieves mainstream success, and you want to move on, find someone new and relatively undiscovered again. It’s horribly elitist, but if their music is blasted five times a day on Radio 1, you no longer want to champion them.
Why is it that we feel this need to discover, and then to essentially hoard good music? Sharing songs that we find particularly good only with a close few friends, and exercising trepidation when playing them. Maybe its human nature, a selfishness that arises from the primary school playground, a ‘this is mine and you can’t have it’ mentality that we should try our hardest to shake. Essentially, any recognition an artist you love gets should be deemed positive, but ironically, at least personally, you can’t help but feel a little deflated when you learn an artist you admire has dived into the mainstream. See Chance the Rapper collaborating with Justin Bieber. An avid fan of his non-profit Acid Rap mixtape, it all seemed a little too much like selling out for him to be working with Justin Bieber, an artist who embodies much of what I dislike about the music industry.
It could be seen to stem from the distinct ‘uncool’ image of what is considered ‘mainstream’. It sounds pretty foolish to admit, as the term itself evokes sentiments of negativity, and is often used in a derogatory way. But this musical elitism is something that we should try to rid ourselves of. If something is good, why not share it – surely the more that hear it and experience it the better? For artists that you support, a wider fan base can increase the prospects of record deals, thus more music, rather than a saddening submission to popularity. Presumably, it would be far better to distribute an undiscovered YouTube remix or SoundCloud unearthing widely amongst your friends, since if you like it, no doubt others will too. But sadly more often than not, we’ll selfishly save it to favourites, immorally YouTube convert it, and reward only those we deem privileged enough to receive a share.
Personally as a resolution, I’m going to attempt to relax this musical greed, as it is a clearly superficial ownership we exercise over artists and songs. Let’s willingly share music – enough with exclusiveness.