How the Internet Expanded Our Music Taste But Hardened Our Political Beliefs

The value of discovering not only different music, but different ideas.

Before the Internet

If you’re over 30, then you remember a time before smartphones, social media, and the information overwhelm we’re navigating today. Back in the 1990s, if I wanted to discover new music, I did so either through magazines, CDs that set me back $30 a pop (a significant amount of money for my 15-year-old self), or I traded cassette tapes with friends and classmates.

Spotify and Low Barriers to Discovery

Nowadays, we have access to more music than we could ever possibly listen to at the touch of a button.

Blurring the Lines

While my first love was and still is heavy metal, a quick sample of my Spotify listening history from the past few weeks reveals music from The Roots, Simon & Garfunkel, Eminem, Johnny Cash, Django Reinhardt, Pennywise, the Chemical Brothers, Pearl Jam, The Beach Boys, Polish Hip-Hop, Kanye West, Miles Davis, and Steve Aoki, alongside my old favorites, Megadeth, Sepultura, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden.

Post Malone feat. Ozzy Osbourne
Lady Gaga with Judas Priest frontman, Rob Halford

Shifting Battlefield

Today, the battle lines are much more likely to be drawn across not musical lines, but political ones.

Hardening of the Political Lines

Instead of using the ability to connect and learn at scale to better understand the world and empathize with different opinions, we’re seeking out information that confirms what we already believe.

The Value of Discovering Different Ideas

Perhaps we should all spend more time doing with our political beliefs what we might do with our Spotify playlist, and allocate time to discovering different ideas, truly listening to them, and cultivating a world view that is not based on an association with one idea, but many.

Founder: Collective Campus, Host: Future Squared, Author: Time Rich & Employee to Entrepreneur. Clubhouse: @steveglaveski Visit: #MELB

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