So I had been looking forward to the release of the soundtrack to The Master, by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, ever since I learned he was doing it. Greenwood scored Paul Thomas Anderson's last film, There Will Be Blood, and that score stands as one of my favorites from the last decade of film scoring.
Having received some iTunes gift cards from my loving wife I thought I'd grab it this morning. Then I remembered Spotify. Sure enough, they have it up and I am listening to it right now. And it's good. But I'm not sure it's great. Specifically, I'm not sure it's so good that I need to own it. And yes, had it bowled me over I may well have bought it, free availability on Spotify notwithstanding. Why? Because only by buying it can I take it with me wherever I go, without worrying about whether or not I have access to WiFi or a data connection*.
I am fascinated by what being a music fan means these days in terms of access to music. And what it must be doing to artists' wallets. Because I know that my listening to an album on Spotify means much less money in the artists' pockets than me buying the album on iTunes. Which in turn, I believe, means less money in the artists' pockets than me buying the physical CD. And yet I feel hard-pressed to convince myself to buy CDs, rather than listen for free, even though I know I should do more of that. And a year ago, I would have bought that The Master album on iTunes. And today I won't. And I feel kind of bad about it.
Is that weird?
While we try and figure this all out, why don't you listen to some of Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood? It really is something:
*See, to me, the whole notion of not needing a personal collection of music, because access to the "cloud" means you can always get what you need, is premature. Because I don't always have access to the cloud. Very often, it's just me and my iPod, no PC, no WiFi, no 3G, 4G, or LTE, whatever the hell that is.