You Will Never Listen to Every Song Ever Written

Altan Gocher/NurPhoto via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Chris Richards writes today in the Washington Post that we are routinely “freaked out” about music. I’m not so sure about that, but let’s go with it. Here’s his explanation:

It’s distressing to be reminded that the world is filled with corporations that will work relentlessly to monetize every moment of our lives — especially because those moments are finite. And I think this is where our underlying angst over streaming originates. Listening to music on streaming platforms ultimately reminds us that there are lifetimes upon lifetimes of recorded sound that we won’t live long enough to hear.

Both of these statements are true. But they’ve been true for a very long time. They’ve been true of music, books, movies, sporting events, paintings, and just about every other form of art in existence. More than that, though, critics have been moaning about the commodification of art for as long as art has been around. Has anything really changed that much just because we now consume music through iTunes and Spotify?

That said, I’ll confess that the monetization of every moment of our lives really does seem a lot more obvious than it used to, and it can be both tedious and demoralizing. This is one reason I was never upset that the geekosphere failed to create a workable micropayments architecture for the internet. Do I really want to have make dozens of decisions, day in and day out, about whether I feel like spending a penny or a dime on something? No I don’t. I think we dodged a bullet there.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest