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Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

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Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

gxhxoxsxtxfxm
Songwriter

You can simply reply with "Primary" or "Secondary". But feel free to elaborate on that. 

 

This question has lingered in my head and has, to some good extent, influenced the music I listened to. As we all know, times have changed. Diversity has been an active discussion in both work and private life. In music, it is manifest in clearer ways. Many music blogs and publications have now "adjusted" themselves to the new norm. Lists and reviews should be diverse. Pitchfork, for instance, re-did their entire Best Albums of the 1980s only for this purpose (Spoiler: Their No.1 was once Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth and now is Purple Rain by Prince).

 

But should music not come first? Isn't the fact that the artist is black, white, LGBTQ, male, female, Australian, or from Ghana, a secondary aspect? Music, in and of itself, is oblivious to all this. We do not apply these rules to many other things, either. A Football World Cup does not quality its contestants based on color, gender, or creed. Once you are in, you have to fight your way up to the top. You don't get a cultural advantage badge.

 

Now, I haven't had a clean sheet with regards to this. Up to a certain age looking back, I realized that most of the artists I listen to are men. Because I was into alternative rock and grunge as a teenager. Once I had this "awakening", I started reminding myself that I am missing a big chunk of the world's music due to this stupid limit. So I explored a wider spectrum. Having the filter removed, I no longer think about what metadata the artist has. It is the music that should speak to you. Then you read about it. Then you realize all the rest. "Music is music", Bob Marley once said in an interview. And the man knew what he talked about.

 

But I really want to know what you think. 

11 Replies

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

Zanardi1
Roadie
I believe that this diversity topic is malarkey and I wait for the day when this topic will be recognized as what it is: malarkey. Gender, height, race, whatever should not be the primary factor in selecting something based on competence.

I don't care if I listen to more men than women, or more European artists than dogs. All I care is if I like this song.

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

tynon_1221
Roadie

The music that i listen to is incredibly diverse... sonically. Growing up, my hetero father loved Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls as much as the Beegees and Journey. Had metal introduced to me as a teen and "dubstep" soon after; suddenly presented with all of the choices, i agree with Bob Marley. Ironically, that early exposure to specifically engineered and commercially produced pop music innoculated me and now it's hard for me to enjoy music that isn't different. 

 

With all this hooplah, i have been surprised to find that a lot of the "metal" groups i listen to aren't all of one color, or even gender. Because, again, good music just is. Taste based on merit is forever superior to trying to meet a quota, for which "it's never enough to satisfy" anyway. 

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

Sebasty
Rock Star 18
Rock Star 18

Thank you for posting this @gxhxoxsxtxfxm, always appreciate a good discussion

 

For me.. it's strongly secondary. I listen to a lot of (underground) electronic music and in many cases it is quite faceless music (as opposed to pop stars etc). All you get is the album art of something abstract and a disk full of music. No pictures of the artist posing or anything.
Even the posters for the live shows feature just the artist name and some form of artwork cohesive to the music / show.

 

I don't really care about the gender, religion, nationality of any other aspect of the artist, in general.
I don't really feel obliged to listen to as diverse amount of music as I can based on gender etc, since most of the time I don't even know what gender the artists are that I listen to. For me it's a rather private thing anyway and not something to go public with.

I am not saying music should be faceless etc. I feel that bringing diversity out in music is beneficial for people. I just have no connection to that way of thinking myself.
I don't like being forced to listen to music made by people of this or that gender either, because I listen to music because of music, not because of the person who made it...


The only diversity I might care about is music genres. : )

SebastyRock Star 18
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Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

gxhxoxsxtxfxm
Songwriter
I agree. I also think keeping an open ear for different sounds will automatically lead to hearing diverse artists. It shouldn't be the other way around.

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

gxhxoxsxtxfxm
Songwriter
Agreed. How old is your father by the way? I could never convince my dad into the 1990s and he's a music person.

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

gxhxoxsxtxfxm
Songwriter
Thanks for your comment. I agree that music should inherently be experienced as you said "facelessly", even though it is hard to do so for artists like Michael Jackson where presentation is a vital part. Luckily the man was a good musician, too. Your last sentence is a jackpot. I'm glad to see I am not part of a minority.

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

musicorumgenius
Composer

One day I will look back and figure out why I like a song or not.  I don't really know why I like a song.  When I first listen to a song it sometimes depends on the time of day or where I am at or what's going on in my life.  Generally I go through phases with a song when I initially LOVED it but later that love lessens and vice versa.  Normally if the vocals are on point I can get with it.  I grew up with what my dad listened to and my older brother.  I've since grown my own musical personality.  I enjoy finding stuff that isn't as appreciated as it should.  Spotify obviously is a business and they cater to what's most popular.  They do try to do a good job of giving you recommendations.  To answer your question, diversity is nice to have in the genre of music you like.  I would say it's secondary for me.  Primary would be if the music hits me.  When a song does that, that's how I know I have to add it.  I do not look for black musicians, or women singers or duets.  I just listen to what I think sounds good.   

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

gxhxoxsxtxfxm
Songwriter
I think that's how it should be. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Is diversity a primary or a secondary factor in your music-listening experience?

Eclipse_31
Roadie

Everyone on here has a point! I don't care about the color of the artist's skin, or if they're male or female, or who they would prefer to sleep with . . . all that matters is that they make great music! This is why I hate identity politics: You're not celebrated for the contributions you make to the world, it's always about somewhat vague 'First-ever X to Y!'

 

The only diversity that I do care about is diversity in songs.  It would be a boring world to live in if all songs were alt rock or solo piano.

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