By Jeff King
“What do you love about music?” “Everything.”
Thanks to Cameron Crowe for giving voices to not just the fictional characters, journalist William Miller and artist/rock god Russell Hammond, in the movie Almost Famous, but also to everyone else who loves music. Fundamentally, the ability to create music is virtually unique to humans… with a knowing nod to whales and birds, who use musical notes to communicate.
Of course, music has an economic and commercial value. People consume vast quantities of music, in diverse experiences ranging from buying music, to listening to the radio, to watching television, to witnessing live shows, to having it background their dining and shopping activities, to looking at YouTube. All of this activity is of tremendous economic and cultural value. There’s a fundamental appeal in music being part of the fabric.
So why do we love music?
For some, it’s the emotional response it provokes. Excitement, calm, rage, serenity, hate and love are all easily aroused by the right song at the right time. Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” generates a far different response than Claude Debussy’s Clair de lune.
For others, it’s the story that’s being relayed. We wonder about the stories behind “Eleanor Rigby,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blurred Lines.” Well, at least I do.
Some love the technical precision of several instruments working in a co-ordinated manner. Others are drawn by the little treats just for them. The airplane left in at the beginning of “Black Country Woman” or the countless examples of back-masking tracks. Music had “Easter Eggs” before we even knew what they were.
Another very powerful impact of music is as a time and space machine. Whenever I hear the theme to Sesame Street, I’m instantly transported back to the fall of 1969, and sitting on my parents’ couch – which is itself transported to Sesame Street and its sunny days.
There’s definitely something to be said for the concept of music being the soundtrack of our lives. No matter what the draw is, music is unquestionably a major part of our everyday experience and our culture. When one considers a world without music, suddenly our experience is that much less joyful, enriched and fulfilling.
Of course, in order for society to enjoy an endless smorgasbord of music, there needs to be a robust eco-system that fairly balances creators and consumers of content. We support traditional and new business models that respect both the value of music and the rights of consumers.
On this front, SOCAN is committed to ensuring that membership in SOCAN is viewed as a valuable and productive relationship. Equally importantly, a SOCAN license for a user of music needs to be an enabler and a not hindrance.
After all, SOCAN loves music, too.