Streaming services find themselves overwhelmed by underwhelming tracks as the pandemic drives a home recording renaissance.
The horrible and seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic has had a shockingly positive effect on multiple markets across the U.S. and the globe. Real estate prices rose sharply in some areas as work from home became the standard and professionals abandoned the soul-shattering glare of fluorescent office lights for bucolic suburban and country surroundings. Demand for bidets and bread machines has soared, phenomena that may in time prove to be related.
Another space experiencing a stunning boom is the home recording industry. In the post-pandemic world, it seems that every closet Tom Petty, Dick Dale, and Harriet Stubbs found the time to record their magnum opus. This, in turn, has led to a not altogether surprising surge in subpar music, much of which remains unheard.
“There’s such a vast variety of music available to listen to now, and a lot of it is complete crap”, says Spotify’s Chief of Music Ingestion, Bjorn Ladleson. “I mean, there was a lot of music before COVID, and a fair amount of it was awful – but the torrent of musical turds we’ve gotten during the pandemic is borderline.. unfathomable.” Added the executive with apparent sadness, “To be honest, it makes me question why I do this.”
A software engineer for Pandora who wished to remain anonymous indicated that the “thumbs down” button had to be re-coded to respond more quickly because listeners have recently been utilizing it in a rapid-fire manner. “The number of songs played for less than three seconds these days is incredibly high”, she said, adding that “People might take a few listens to know if they really like a song, but they know right away if they absolutely hate it.”
What does this mean for the home recording musicians hoping to spread their joyful noise across the world? “I guess I’m gonna have to learn online marketing”, said 48-year-old aspiring electronic artist Ted Wojohinski, who goes by the moniker “Star Boy”. “Cuz I have 14 songs out and zero streams, and I know my stuff is, like, great. Not to brag or anything, but.. I know it! Everyone tells me that. My girlfriend, umm.. So somehow it’s just not getting to people’s ears, is all.”