The age of Spotify: music at our fingertips

Opinion

When teens talk to their parents about music, the most common response from the parents is “my music is the best,” referring to the music they listened to while growing up. That’s understandable considering that music taste is often times based on nostalgia. Whether it’s The Rolling Stones, U2, or Bob Dylan, parents are confident that their favorite music is the best of all time. But which generation really has the best music? I would argue that the current generation of teens has the best music because of the increase in different genres due to the rise of modern music platforms.  

Pop music obviously still exists in the lives of teenagers, but subgenres of music have gained an increasing amount of popular support. The main reason for this is that teens today have access to thousands, if not millions, of songs that spread across multiple genres thanks to modern technology. While many people claim that the internet lessens the creative explorations of teens, I would argue that the current generation has the best music because of technology.

The internet and its increasing assortment of apps allow teens to access more platforms to both discover music and make their own. Apps like Soundcloud, Spotify, and YouTube all act as modern displays of ground-breaking music. Gone are the days where whatever played on the radio were the songs of the month. Teens can now browse thousands of songs with a swipe of their finger.

Take Spotify for example. The choices are endless. pop, indie, rock, chill, dance, country, rap, latin, workout, jazz, Arab, metal, soul, classical, folk, K-pop, and many more genres of music are easily accessible using the app. Spotify even has pre-made playlists that are catered to specific moods. The variety of music that teens are exposed to today allows for their individual musical tastes to grow and mature in all sorts of different directions. Besides being able to listen to a variety of different songs, teens also have a new opportunity to gain leverage in the music community without going through large music corporations.

Teens, in essence, have the ability to show their raw musical talent by simply pressing record. Apps like YouTube and Soundcloud give teens an opportunity to demonstrate their talents and gain fans, which didn’t exist in times before the internet. The internet takes away emphasis from autotuned stars and puts it on do-it-yourself singers and songwriters who bypass the music industry which, since its beginning, has silenced “different” artists in favor of picture-perfect stars. Relatively new genres such as “bedroom pop” have increased in popularity because of this unfiltered, striped-back style. “Bedroom Pop” artists like Clairo, Rex Orange County, and Still Woozy produce lo-fi songs and purposefully simple music videos that show a much more honest side of music. Before the internet, artists like these would have a much harder time getting their work to graze the public ear. Knowing that an artist came from humble roots and worked their way up the ladder of popularity through sheer talent gives them much more credibility than singers who churn out one or two formulaic pop songs a year just to keep the money rolling in.

I think we should be thankful that we live in a time when anyone from anywhere can produce their own music and become famous because they are good at what they do. I am not, however, overlooking the popular belief that teen music today is mostly made up of mumble rap artists with face tattoos and rainbow hair. Firstly, this is not true. Stereotyping the whole genre of rap is overlooking talented rappers who worked hard to get where they are in their careers. Also, the genre of  “mumble rap” is just one of the many types of music genres that teens listen to because of the fast-paced energy and catchy lyrics. And even if some people don’t like it, so what? There are plenty of other options as I’ve already stated.

As well as discovering new music with a plethora of genres from pop to country to alternative, teens also have access to the music of older generations. Spotify contains playlists of music from past decades, meaning that classic songs aren’t lost on today’s teens.Teens have the  opportunity to listen to the music of the past and the present by streaming music from apps like Spotify.

Teens can be found jamming out to bedroom pop, mumble rap, or The Beatles at any given time which is exactly why the internet has positively impacted the way we listen to music and the music that we listen to.