April 23rd, 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the release of Wilco’s Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, an amazing record, perhaps a seminal record, something truly great produced in our generation.
Reading about it here and there online, it stopped us in our tracks a bit. We've been big fans of Jeffy Tweedy and crew for a long time, but what really got us thinking was: ten years ago we were…15. For a music lover, it’s the time where that love is arguably the most intense. The songs you love at 15, you love forever. The songs you love at 25…well, that remains to be seen.
It got us pondering about how much, quite obviously and in many different ways, the industry has changed since this gorgeous record came on the scene. Us mid-twenty somethings grew up at the beginning of the end of the record industry. We remember so clearly, as informed by MTV News, nearly every big artist debuting with a platinum record. Albums going platinum was a normal occurrence, and now? Even in the era of multi-million YouTube views, records just don't sell quite like that anymore.
The music industry is a game that has drastically changed. Records will be put out until the format gets completely reimagined (this past weekend's Record Store Day is the ultimate testament to that), but us digital natives have taken matters into our own hands.
The heyday of many incredibly influential platforms have come and gone: Napster, MySpace…the list of instances that brought music to the masses goes on and on. I will always be grateful for the advent of p2p networks. It allowed us to shape our tastes in a way we couldn’t have ever imagined. At that age, we wanted to hear everything, and with Napster…we could. We didn’t have to wait until our summer camp job rolled around and we were doled a nice Best Buy certificate, we could just sit back, download and listen. Today's streaming services harken to that freedom and bring on that overwhelmingly awesome feeling: Today, we can listen to anything at all, from any point in time (save for any issues with licensing).
In the years between 2002 and 2012, the ways in which people experience music changed greatly. But what we’ll enjoy most, in this increasingly anti-social social world we live in [dramatic sigh], is the actual moments we’ve gotten to share music with others.
We’ll forever remember scouring and sharing mixtapes, spending hours sitting in friends' apartments listening to Spotify playlists, hell, we’ll always remember dancing around our dorm rooms freshman year to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s own “Heavy Metal Drummer." Which brings this little rant full circle. That in the midst of all these changes, the fact that the twitterverse, blog-iverse and other such verses take a time out to remember an album that still (arguably) makes its listeners feel like a 15-year-old discovering how amazing music is for the first time is…well, that’s something.