I have seen the future of television. And it is music.

  • It’s on demand. Gonna date myself here, but in high school, my mates and I adopted a deep track from the second REO Speedwagon album, a raver called “Like You Do,” as our signature Friday evening anthem. All five minutes and 54 seconds was available to us as party backdrop whenever we wanted, so long as we had the tape or the LP and an available sound system. So whether it was in the car at full blast or in Sleyster’s mom’s living room (also: sorry about those rug stains, Mrs. Sleyster), we had access to it, and we could press “play” at will.
  • It’s compatible with multiple environments. The 8-track player wedged into the dashboard of the Camaro my brother Scott and I cruised around in could be made to spurt out “Like You Do” whenever we wanted, and of course we owned the vinyl as well, for playback on bedroom and living room stereos, and Rick Phillips had fashioned a tape with the song on Side 2 of a cassette deck. So pretty much any music listening mode was covered. Not so with television programs in the day: They showed up on a nominal screen encased in a heavy frame, usually situated in somebody’s living room, and only when a TV network decreed. Television was not portable or extensible or available when you wanted.
  • It’s worth replaying. Here’s the final ingredient. Repeat listening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that song. A few hundred, easy. A thousand, even? Maybe. The thing never fails me. This is similar to the conceit a woman from Denton, Texas named Kate Galyon expressed when she recently told the Wall Street Journal about why she just began watching the entire set of reruns of NBC’s “The Office.” For the 11th time. Reading “The psychology behind the rewatch” is a revelation, so I hope you’ll follow the link (although there’s probably a firewall).

Writer, editor, media industry analyst. Fan of electric guitars. Believes in Santa Claus and baseball. Some light dusting.

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