Only stubbornness can break creative impasse. I know, but the last couple of days, as I tried to create a playlist around the most universal theme of all, love, I realised that abundance doesn’t help and that creating something for a big, anonymous audience is far more difficult than for someone you know.
First problem is the choice of theme. There is no theme the global audience of Internet users is interested in. Everything has been done before, and more importantly, everything that has been done is available to everyone. Compare that to the situation of creating a playlist for someone you know, someone you care about, someone you want to impress in real life.
Next comes selection. I remember how frustrating it was, back in the 80’s, 90’s or even early 00’s, to know about a certain piece of music, but have no access to it, because it was out of ‘print’, too obscure and therefore commercially not interesting enough. Only when the cost of printing CD’s dropped to virtually zero, and the Internet became an equally cheap distribution channel, did this situation change.
Then came Napster, Kazaa, Limewire and all those other filesharing programs. Downloading became my favourite weekend activity and for a while I was happy. That happiness didn’t last for long. A decade later I look at my music collection like an Arab prince in front of his collection of sportscars. What to choose today? Why? Why even choose anything?
Back to my playlist. What the f..k should I select? There is too much to choose from, and to make it even more complicated…I should of course include enough female artists, black artists, openly gay artist and artists with a non-Western cultural background. Where did spontaneity go? Can I just do what feels right, rather than trying to create the most comprehensive, all-encompassing, and intellectually stimulating playlist.
Stop trying. There is only one solution, go back to the music you love, to the anchors in your life. So…welcome Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Prince, The Cure, The National, St. Vincent, The Stones and all those other magnificent artists who never failed to provide comfort, relief, or just pleasure. This one is just for you.