I have to ask myself Why…?

Jerry Lucky Commentary March 2013

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2013 All Rights Reserved


As I go about my day, I typically read or hear things that cause me to ask…Why? In fact I remember when my daughter was younger that was one of her favorite questions. I think that may be true of all kids. They want to know, why things are the way they are to help things fit into a certain pattern in their thinking. I’m also of the opinion that if we take a page out of a childs thinking process and keep askingWhy in regards to issues that surround us, we might actually get to the heart of certain problems and then be able to fix them, rather than simply applying band-aids…but that’s a whole different issue.


For example this week…I read an article in a popular weekly entertainment rag that was singing the praises of iTunes. And I had to stop and ask myself…Why would they do that? Don’t they know that virtually every artist makes less royalties off iTunes downloads than if they were to actually sell a physical CD? Setting aside the paradoxical financial arrangements of the artist being paid less while the delivery system getting more, the idea that I would want to spend more money per song, get less for it and yet feel good about it seems oxymoronic. When I informed a work mate about the impact of her downloading, she was quite surprised and oblivious to the impact of her efforts. All along she thought she was doing a good thing for the artist when she bought that one song. When I come to think of it, iTunes is good for the artist in the same way that Ticketmaster is good for the concert-goer. It’s unfortunately pretty much the only “game in town” and we’re the ones having to pay for it.


Which brought up another thing…Why would you only want to buy one song? It’s true that times are changing, but last time I checked artists were still creating whole albums, of which only two or three, out of the 12 songs on the album would ever see the light of day on radio. So people are technically ignoring the artist’s greater body of work. Again I’m not sure how this helps the artist in the long run. I guess not so far back people used to buy 45-RPM records with two songs. There have always been the single-song buyers I suppose. But during the seventies everything moved to focus on the albums…perhaps we’ve just come full circle and the “singles” the thing again.


Which brought up another thing…Why are we becoming so musically lazy? I say lazy from two aspects; one is that we will only want to listen to a few songs off an album and relegate the others to obscurity because we’ve become too lazy (or too busy) to listen to a whole album and two we’ve become so lazy that we find it easier to simply download a tune(s) rather than go to a store. Now I know what you are going to say; What stores are there anymore? And I feel your pain. And yet folks in the Seattle area have the mighty Silver Platters with three locations and in Las Vegas there are two Zia Records and then LA and San Francisco have the wonderful Amoeba Records…so there are still retail giants out there. And the neat thing is they’re independents. That’s something I think we should support.


Which brings up another thing…Why have we become so technically lazy? Just to pick up my thought from above, we all seem to be leading such busy lives these days, running here, running there, on the phone all the time, texting family, messaging friends, taking pictures of everything and sending them to everyone, working, playing, where does it end? The adage that “we shape our tools and then our tools shape us” has never been truer than today, where the technology we have at our disposal has not only changed how we listen to music but changed how we acquire it as well.  


Which made me think of another thing…Why have we become so fixated on music awards shows? Again reading in another weekly publication on line you would think that other than the few artists who’ve hit the big time, there was nothing else worth paying attention to. But more than that was the impression that all of these award winners were clearly the “best of the business.” Now many of you with long memories will suggest, that’s the way it’s always been and to a certain extant I would agree with you. But I would also suggest that’s what’s changed is the degree to which this is so. Today the media more than ever maintains a tight hold on what the public is ever aware of. Even with the internet at our disposal, other than pockets of genre fans, the general public seems quite happy to be blindly oblivious to “finding out more.” If it’s not spoon fed to them, i.e. here’s the next big thing you should listen to, they are too busy to care.


Which made me think of one last thing…Why should I care anyway?  Well I guess it’s simply because music has always been an important part of my life. I would suggest that there is usually a time in everyone’s life where music plays a big part and then for various reasons people move on or move away from that. Personally given how much enjoyment and even therapy music can bring to a person’s emotional wellbeing I think that’s sad. At least that’s what I think.


Jerry Lucky