As music consumers, things have never been better. Digital songs are virtually costless, accessible anywhere, playable on anything. Untethered to budget or availability, discovering new music requires little research or footwork. Unfolding worlds appear with every click, concentric circles multiply our musical wingspan as Spotify suggests, recommends and gently nudges us further into her womb.
Music has become the ultimate convenience product. A singular blob of torrented data containing whole genres. Disco back catalogues, funk archives, classical ensembles, rock compendiums - all gained with the dedication it takes to cook a pot noodle; decades of physical digging compressed into one single click.
But behind this time-saving veneer is a false economy. That seductive efficiency is an illusion, cancelled out by the fact that we're busier than ever. The premium on our time has risen with the same electrifying ascent as digital technology.
In scientific terms, our increasing productivity directly correlates to the increasing time-saving capacity of technology. A paradoxical stalemate that's missed by most. We're too preoccupied with juggling superhuman feats, attempting the impossible, competing with machine-endurance and computer speed to notice the dupe.
And things aren't about to let up.
From multitasking to multitasking - from app to app - from ashes to ashes.
A stress-induced aneurysm swells into every crevice until there's no space. The inn is full. Then it bursts. A hard, loud skull snapping crack, delivered from the inside. The hooligan mind losing its patience. Cue the biological cymbal crash... credits roll. If the stroke isn't fatal, it'll be incapacitating - disconnected fuses dangling in the minds barren wasteland. Collateral damage in the grand scheme of AI hand over - neatly shuffled off to insurance funded gardening leave, residing vacantly on a permanent sabbatical; medicated, dribbling, gurning. A modern-day burnout.
It's with this dark scenario in mind that you should probably acknowledge the real drain of technology and its snowballing dangers. Take note before it's too late. Make decisions to outsource everything, even the administration of your digital technology - however absurd this might seem.
The best example of the efficiency dupe is the inordinate labour involved in compiling a playlist. Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music et al. Beneath the economising facade, lurks a massive distraction, a rabbit hole that winks enticing, constantly nagging for attention.
You've probably experienced this pattern: Starting with Radiohead….10 mins later you've uncovered a dirty little penchant for K-pop….remedied by The Velvet Underground, then ending up on 1970's Nigerian trance. Your music sensibilities have widened. But at what cost? It's a descent that's easily slipped into, Spotify's slight-of-hand keeps you digging in the maze of discovery. Like a blind farmer on autopilot, you harvest music clumsily, yet contentedly, unaware of what's happening in the real world. Dreamed out and sucked in, spiralling worlds of artistry offer themselves, as your subconscious works away in a dimly lit room, decoding the digitalised music into some wholemeal aesthetic appreciation.
The end product is a head-scratching medley - the apex of incongruence - six-degrees-of-separation breached with every mismatch. And two days have past… Blindsided by the black hole, you've missed a deadline. Your boss isn't happy. The aneurysm twitches.
App makers have seized upon this conundrum, creating both a tonic and an employment opportunity for disenfranchised musicians.
Grubber is an outsourcing platform that rehashes online freelancing by pairing users with a Grub: a real-life music expert. The Grub has an encyclopaedic knowledge of your exact music taste. Once assigned the tastemaker will tirelessly compile playlists, doing all the hard yards, freeing up your precious time.
Since the music industry has ejected 90% of talent from its books, legions of artists now exist in a bleak vacuum alongside taxi drivers and hoteliers, all reminiscing about the good old days before a Silicon Vally algorithm told them to pack up and fuck off. Broke, bitter and twiddling their thumbs, they desperately try to avoid taking menial jobs deemed beneath their well-honed, but obsolete, skill set.
Grubber utilises this lost generation. Shooting these societal dropouts back into the cogs of industry, off the dole, and doing something associated with their passion.
Sweatshops of Spotify Grubs are cropping up everywhere. Warehouses full of music aficionados working around the clock to please their masters. Wriggling through the cracks of genres, methodically and expertly producing coherent and seamless compilations, eradicating the blasphemous faux pas and oddities of the amateur playlister.
Approached with the same masochistic drive of musicianship, the Grubs have effortlessly adjusted to this new outlet - thankful for the few crumbs of creativity still on the table.