Last night, at 19:08 Central European Time, the last music collector died, suddenly and silently, sitting in front of his computer, not doing anything in particular. His collection encompassed 5.127.391 different albums, and yet he left none of it to his wife and 3 children (2 girls and a boy, aged 19, 15 and 13). According to his family they last heard him listening to an actual piece of music in 1997, after coming back from his mother’s funeral. A Chet Baker song, from one of his more obscure albums. After this last episode of listening, he spent his days in front of his computer, collecting music like Russian billionaires collect exclusive Burgundies; in silence, without any outward signs of either devotion or love. Once, he had owned a substantial collection of records in all available formats. Over time, his collecting gradually reduced in size; records became CDs, which in turn changed into mp3 files, finally to be swallowed by multiple streaming music platforms. He left nothing because he owned nothing, and his knowledge of modern music (classical, jazz, pop, rock, R&B, funk, disco, and all possible crossovers, a true musical omnivore) left his body together with his last breath. ‘We never knew he was so much into music’, his second daughter declared. ‘We never knew he was really into anything, most days he would spend just sitting in front of his computer’
In response to the many queries as to why this man can be considered the last music collector, it can be stated, proved even, that on the 27th of September 2019 the last stage of music miniaturization was finally completed. As of that date, no former music collector, apart from aforementioned lonesome equivalent of a Russian wine collector, ‘owned’ anything anymore. No records or CDs for sure, but also no self-created playlists, curated song collections or digitally earmarked albums. A little known fact some Spotify engineers referred to as a return to the good old days of radio.
What began as one single music lover, dancing and singing to the same tune of one single record every day finally evolved into full algorithmic support. It ended the painful and time consuming process of developing a personal taste, all those hours wasted on one hit wonders, forgotten favourites and secret sins, let alone the embarrassing experience of playing the wrong song at the wrong moment.
That’s all past, long live the future.