After months of build up, Apple Music was finally released to the masses this week. For those of you connected to the most valuable tech company in the world, and you probably are – over one billion people in the world have iOS – you will be offered a free trial of the organisation’s attempt to get its fingers in the ever enlarging pie that is music streaming.
I don’t quite know how Apple keep a straight face amidst all the hype for their new product. CEO Tim Cook claimed: “It’s going to change the way you experience music forever.” Really, Tim? We all know that’s just not true. Even the way they announced their radio station, Beats 1, was hugely exaggerated… I totally bought into too. “They have a station that has ACTUAL PEOPLE like Zane Lowe choosing the music? And I can listen to it? At any time of the day or night?! Can’t. Even.” After 30 seconds of delirium my wife promptly pointed out that the world has had radio for about a century or so.
It seems like every news outlet, blogger and YouTuber with a slight connection to technology has clamoured over each other to produce a “What you need to know about Apple Music” or a “Here’s how Apple Music lines up against Spotify” article. Only a couple of days out of the box and Google registers over 100 million results within the last week alone. I haven’t looked at them all, but I don’t imagine them all to look too dissimilar.
In case there wasn’t enough to dominate our ever-shrinking attention spans, this week also saw Kanye West’s Glastonbury performance generate a mountain of hype and hyperbole.
I found it all a little… overwhelming. The amount of puffery is nauseating. It’s not just Apple. I lost count of the number of times Sky Sports advertised the next live football match as “THE GAME OF THE SEASON!” Can anything be unveiled without a fanfare? Can anything be released without a hashtag?
Does everything these days need to be, like, OMG, the best thing ever? We all know it won’t be five minutes until the next thing comes along and it gets the same treatment.
Take any global event that’s worth talking about. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if you don’t have your opinions out early, you’re not worth listening to. Perhaps it all points to an innate narcissism; we want to be seen to be talking about the important things. We don’t actually care about the events themselves; we care about being noticed as we broadcast our opinions. I suppose this is where social media comes into its own; it’s the ideal space to maintain your personal brand. And it gives oxygen to quick opinions.
We’re pushed to give immediate analysis but what lasting value does that hold? Not much. Maybe we’re afraid to admit we don’t yet have opinions formed on Greece’s financial struggles, or the England football team being sent home from the World Cup following an own goal.
When I think of the wisest people around me, they have opinions and ideas. But they haven’t been crafted within minutes of a breaking story. Like a meal of slow-cooked pork, they’ve allowed their thoughts to marinate in the delicacies of nuance, counterpoint and self-critique. The flavours of patience and consideration have moved in to create something tender, valuable and worth remembering. Those sentiments are the tastiest.
Quick and fast opinions are like fast food in comparison; unmemorable, and ultimately unhealthy.