I know it might seem like a crazy idea, but do you ever listen to music without doing anything else? The musicians sweated over the tiniest details of the music and sound when they recorded it, so why not give it your undivided attention? Is music worth savoring?
Then again, it's not just recorded music, a lot of people can't keep their mouths shut at concerts. Sometimes they quiet down at the end of a tune to applaud, and go on yammering when the music starts again. The crowd at City Winery here in New York jabbered their hearts out the night I saw Dr. John in August. I paid more than $100 for the ticket, food, and drink, so I assume everyone else there spent about the same, but more than half the crowd talked, loudly, through Dr. John's long set.
The woman sitting next to me wasn't talking; she was too busy texting and e-mailing, and the light from her phone was hugely distracting. Her boyfriend was into the music, but she was sitting next to me so he wasn't blinded by her phone. They say times are tough, but I can think of better ways of blowing $100 for a night of music you totally ignore.
New York's free outdoor concerts are even worse places to listen to music. The talkers and texters make up an even larger majority of the crowds, even for a classical concert with the Kronos Quartet at Lincoln Center. The sound coming out of the huge PA speakers was surprisingly good, but I couldn't stand the crowd's noise so I left after 20 minutes.
Music, by itself, can't hold the audience's attention anymore; it's just a nice backdrop to other activities. Is there another explanation? I swear I don't remember it always being this way. … Read more