Interesting Air: Do you listen, or do you hear?

Music consumption. We all do it differently, in our own way. Some take it more serious than others. Some never pay attention, some lock themselves in a dark room with a glass of whiskey and breathe it in, word for word. Some have a playlist for that exact thing.

Me, I’m the type that constantly seeks out music. There is a process, and it is as nerdy as one can make the act of listening to music. Seriously, there are multiple spreadsheets involved.

The majority of my music these days is in Spotify. Yes, I feel guilty about of revenue steam reaching the artist. I justify it by going to as many shows as possible. I buy the vinyl, I buy the shirt, I put the stickers on the coolers. It eases the guilt of streaming. Let me have my things, damnit.

I’m a playlist junkie. I have event-specific ones. I have mood ones. I have “with these specific friends” ones. But, a lot of us have those. Where I nerd out is in the process of consuming new music. And I do mean process. New music that could interest me goes into a catch-all playlist called, simply, To Listen To. It’s something I stole from one of the NPR guys. Generally, it is full albums.

Then, I work my way through the list. As I get to a new album, each track gets put into a spreadsheet. Each song gets rated, 1 through 10. I don’t rate songs until I have sat down and listened to it, completely undistracted. Often with the lyrics in front of me. I have an app for that too, but I tend to listen to quite a bit of stuff that doesn’t show up in the database.

I am the anti-Sidney Deane. I put more stock in listening than hearing. Hearing is what I think of with casual listening. Listening is the undivided attention, the investment.

Sorry Sidney, I listen

Each album gets a rating based on the average song rating. Each song rated seven or above goes into a couple other playlists, a best of the year, and a best of all years, which I call Interesting Air. I will take to my grave that shuffle play on that playlist is better than any radio station you could find.

I am constantly behind in the To Listen To list. As I type this, I have 43 hours of music in it–never caught up, but constantly plugging away. I also use the Release Radar list Spotify puts out every Friday, featuring all new stuff. I try to at least stroll through it once a week.

Like I said, I nerd out. My wife mocks me for it. We haven’t even gotten into my podcast habits yet. I spend more time on podcasts than music these days, thus the constant backlog.

My casual listening habits, the music I put on when I’m not really paying attention? Well, typically it is just shuffle play on the Interesting Air or the To Listen To.

So, how about you? What are your listening habits? Anything new, all old, pay much attention either way?

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