I realized the other day after looking at my music collection from recent years that I'm getting old. I'm passing out of that golden demographic group that record companies target - the 16 to 28 year olds that consume large quantities of CDs and downloads and that are responsible for keeping the record companies in business. Sure I don't have the disposable income for the luxuries of things like CD as much now with a wife and 2 kids, but I think there are other reasons as well.
When I was a teenager I consumed a whole lot of music, everything from industrial to blues to jazz to brazillian pop to classic rock to alternative. Music was the frontier and I was an explorer. I didn't have much of an idea at the time of the complexities and subtleties of music but I just kept on getting more. Bit by bit I aquired a taste for certain bands and styles. By the time I was in my late teens I had settled on a few bands as a real fan. Thus my music collection became more narrow and focused.
Here I am now at age 33 and I have realized that I don't buy too much from bands that i'm unfamiliar with anymore. I don't think this is all just due to me getting old though. I think much of this is due in part to the emotional investment it takes to be a fan of a band. There are very few people (though i have met one or two) who can know intimate details about hundreds of bands. For most of us we can only be emotionally involed with 10 to 15 bands at a time. For me these some of these bands would be U2, John Scofield, Mark Knopfler, Bruce cockburn, Medeski Martin and Wood, Daniel Lanois, and more recently Wilco. When it comes to these bands I am a fan. I will keep buying their stuff. I will read the credits and see who produced and played on their CDs. I'll accumulate bits of meaningless trivia about them, and if I get to see them in concert I will show up hours early and do things that would likely embarace me in other settings (like screaming like a little girl).
Sure there are tons of great bands that are out there that I have yet to come across but even when I do come across them I'm carrying the emotional baggage of being a fan of this other hadful of groups. A band might spark my interest but I'm kind of already "taken". If I have a new years resolution this year it will be to become a fan of some new groups. This will be a dificult thing to do at this point in my life but hey isn't that just what new years resolutions are about.
So I've done some reading on some artists lately and I'm going to give a few bands a chance to let me be a fan. I have just ordered CDs by Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine, and Charlie Hunter. I think there is a good chance that I will be able to expand my collection and become a new fan again. I will update you on my progress.