musical fomo

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I try and stay current with popular music, but sometimes I feel like it's a bit of a chore. I've been thinking for some time that perhaps my great curiosity is motivated more by a kind of musical fomo than enjoyment.

I'm pretty confident I'm not the only one on this board more or less compulsively browsing lists, releases, reviews etc. in search of new (or old for that matter) great music

is this a good approach to listening? how important is discovering new music and how random/idiosyncratic vs. completist can you allow your listening to be?

I'd probably be a happier listener if I didn't try so hard to listen to everything

niels, Monday, 26 June 2017 09:49 (three years ago) link

^^^^^ feel this post

my musical fomo has decreased a bit (and my awareness of all new developments likewise has diminished) over the years as other forms of fomo compete to establish a hold over my anxiety: professional career fomo, am I living in the right suburb fomo, should I go on a circuit party holiday fomo, am I stylish and swoll enough and/or having sex with all the hot people I could be fomo. But it's all the same thing.

Tim F, Monday, 26 June 2017 10:01 (three years ago) link

fomo sucks.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 26 June 2017 10:06 (three years ago) link

fomo sucks.

― Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy)

It does suck, and I guess it’s part of human nature, but I feel like it somehow gets better with age. In my late teens / early twenties I felt like I had to have an opinion about everything, which led me to sampling and checking out tons of records but never really devoting enough time to most of them. Now at 27 I feel way happier being blissfully ignorant about most current trends and hypes and whatnot, and instead focusing on artists that I truly love and am interested in; or perhaps exploring bottomless genre-wells properly.

TBH it feels similar in other areas of life as well. Maybe I’m just becoming boring.

mthrn, Monday, 26 June 2017 11:25 (three years ago) link

Ha, at 27 I was probably at my most ravenous for musical / cultural / must-have-an-opinion fomo. It's taken me until 38 and kids to not give a fuck anymore. And I've still bought more new music this year than most people.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 26 June 2017 11:45 (three years ago) link

Ha, at 27 I was probably at my most ravenous for musical / cultural / must-have-an-opinion fomo. It's taken me until 38 and kids to not give a fuck anymore. And I've still bought more new music this year than most people.

― Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy)

Haha, maybe I’m just aging faster! Or maybe it’s just a phase and in a few months I’ll be back to compulsively browsing Metacritic and checking out every new release that sounds vaguely interesting? We’ll see.

For me, the main issue is that there is so much of everything, such saturation of mediocrity; it’s like a constantly overflowing pot. Maybe I OD’d on instant availability? Is the internet to blame? Right now I only want to listen to the Perfume Genius’ and Algiers’ LPs over and over again, and not care about anything else. Maybe dig through ECM New Series catalogue sometimes. I can’t force myself to get excited about Vince Staples, or SZA, or Jlin, or whoever is most talked about now. In the past I’d feel guilty about it, but now I don’t.

(And I agree, even in my no-longer-giving-a-fuck phase I probably still buy more new albums than an average person, but I’d say it’s true for most people here?)

mthrn, Monday, 26 June 2017 12:31 (three years ago) link

yes, i have the same compulsion to hear new (or new-to-me) music you do, yes, i often wonder whether it's entirely healthy, but no, i wouldn't describe my behaviour as being motivated by "fomo". so long ago i can't remember when, i realized that i'd never be able to hear all the music worth hearing. if there is a fear guiding my actions, it's the fear of middle-aged complacency, of being one of those people whose understanding and enjoyment of music is permanently limited to the stuff they listened to in high school.

but truth be told, i'm pretty convinced by now that's not actually going to happen. what motivates me is just that i deeply enjoy listening to music, and that there's a special sort of joy i get from listening to something great i've never heard before. sometimes i feel like i'm chasing the dragon, as my pursuit of this goes far beyond the lengths the vast majority of people would go, but i can't say this obsession of mine has seriously interfered with my day-to-day functioning yet.

Rodney Stooksbury for President (rushomancy), Monday, 26 June 2017 12:33 (three years ago) link

I was sitting here going, "What the hell is 'fomo'? Why does everyone know what it is and I don't? Where have I been? I'd better figure out what 'fomo' means before I try to jump into this conversation-" and then a gigantic wave of irony crashed over me.

a butt groove but for feet (DJP), Monday, 26 June 2017 13:24 (three years ago) link

lol djp

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 26 June 2017 13:39 (three years ago) link

I really hope no one attempts any thinkpieces on how the postmodern fear of missing out was ultimately what led to Neil Young's development of a high-quality portable music player.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 26 June 2017 13:40 (three years ago) link

I think with Pomo, people were proud of missing out

Vinnie, Monday, 26 June 2017 14:01 (three years ago) link

if there is a fear guiding my actions, it's the fear of middle-aged complacency, of being one of those people whose understanding and enjoyment of music is permanently limited to the stuff they listened to in high school.

I can relate to this, and I hope much of my compulsive browsing has to do with staying curious

niels, Monday, 26 June 2017 14:28 (three years ago) link

i don't think fear plays into it for me, i just love listening to new (to me) music

brimstead, Monday, 26 June 2017 23:23 (three years ago) link

foamed molasses

brimstead, Monday, 26 June 2017 23:25 (three years ago) link

Interesting idea.

I find year-end lists to be particularly fomo-inducing ("maybe I'm just not trying hard enough to appreciate that KING album... maybe if I just give it another spin...").

I don't think it's an aging thing though -- I think adolescent listening habit are driven just as much by fomo, probably even more. It's just that at 16, it was easier to really bliss out to just about anything. Maybe all your compulsive list browsing is just you trying to recapture that adolescent rush (and the more music you're exposed to, that more elusive that rush becomes).

enochroot, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:24 (three years ago) link

TS: FOMO vs YOLO

calstars, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:41 (three years ago) link

or as I told my sister, I suffer from fear of living once in the age of you only miss out

calstars, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:50 (three years ago) link

for me it is compounded by all the stuff I'm not reading about -- I suspect the music press has not *actually* narrowed in terms of the artists it covers, but it sure feels like it sometimes

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 01:02 (three years ago) link

Right now I only want to listen to the Perfume Genius’ and Algiers’ LPs over and over again, and not care about anything else.

Healthy approach, that.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 01:09 (three years ago) link

(as far as regular FOMO, I don't experience that, it has been supplanted by the knowledge that I have already, irrevocably missed out)

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 01:51 (three years ago) link

My musical FOMO has nothing to do with recorded music and everything to do with live music. Recordings will be around forever; every single moment of every single live performance is unique and fleeting. I've gotten FOMO about live performances that I'm actually present at, because I caught my mind wandering during some moment I could have been appreciating.

JRN, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:20 (three years ago) link

my opinion is ya gotta devote as much time to the old as the new. gotta throw in something classic with the cutting edge, otherwise you're on a one track..im drunk?

Unchanging Window (Ross), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:33 (three years ago) link

There's a lot to be said for listening to fewer records, but more intently. First 2-3 months of this year I binged pretty hard on an album a month, and it was great to have that almost obsessive replay-desire going on.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 08:54 (three years ago) link

when i see this thread title i keep thinking of one half of gorgon city aka kyle gibbon aka... foamo

in an alternate reality this topped spotify's 'global summer bangerz' playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQBk3HIy0lY

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:02 (three years ago) link

You sometimes have to listen to a fair few records to find one that rewards that kind of bingeing though.

It's not homework, there's no core syllabus, you could be listening to ten new albums a day and still be missing out on vast swathes of what's actually exciting, or likely to excite you.

I got some crazy Glastonbury fomo over the weekend (despite being, like, actually on the beach) but I think what I fear missing out on now, as I get older, is the *societal* element of music, the gigs and the parties and the raves and being right in the middle of it. Listening to a few records is easier than it's ever been, as is forgetting about the ones you don't like.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:06 (three years ago) link

FWIW I still think it's important to be interrogating the reasons why you choose not to listen to certain things, and what prejudices that reveals - I just think I'm fairly restless and would be bored settling into a comforting niche where I only listen to stuff I think I'll like on paper.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:14 (three years ago) link

I never have this.

When I go in the forest and find a few records, I leave a couple. If you harvest all the records today the environment becomes damaged, leave some of them unknown they will meander their way eventually. Everything in its own time

Also I never read any reviews or lists or release dates. Those records are uniformly unlistenable and I try avoid preconceptions if I can (other than unreasonable and baseless ones if I'm feeling boisterous), who knows what will blow in from the North Sea

saer, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:24 (three years ago) link

(as far as regular FOMO, I don't experience that, it has been supplanted by the knowledge that I have already, irrevocably missed out)

the way ppl talk about fomo sometimes has a sense of consensus and even zeitgeist about it which I'm wary of. music can be a way of missing out. you can have a more or less finely tuned sense of the forces shaping the underlying musical landscape of various scenes but when it comes down to the experience of listening you can quickly go down any rabbit hole and find yourself a private little space for reverie

ogmor, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:41 (three years ago) link

Yeah I agree with that, the impulse to listen to Everything! That! Matters! Right! Now! leaves huge areas that are being ignored. Mood matters as well, and there's a lot to be said for following it.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:47 (three years ago) link

You can only play one record at a time! well actually two because of mixing the next one in

saer, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:49 (three years ago) link

I enjoy the way music looms & loops in my mind when I'm not listening to it, changing how other things sound to me, or just giving shape to a mood. something like FOMO is what compels you to replay things, that need for immediacy.

ogmor, Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:58 (three years ago) link

I have just today reentered the world of ILM, a place I used to hang out in. I wouldn't call it fomo but lonm--lack of new music. I'm way past fomo but I do need discover something I will like that isn't the stuff I've been listening to a lot.So it doesn't mean that much to me if it's Music That Matters NOW, as much as it's music I haven't heard that I will either like or learn from.

j arthur rank, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 03:18 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

tis the season

niels, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:44 (two years ago) link

I am browsing playlists and youtube and bandcamp like crazy these days

niels, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:50 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Can we talk about physical media FOMO?

As someone who's always loved collecting things, I'm conditioned in a way where I find the limited pressing bandcamp madness emotionally exhausting... "Do I need this? Will I be sad when I later decide this is my favorite album of the year/decade and I'll have missed out on getting the LTD to 300 pressing AKA the 'ultimate version' for any true fan?" Pretty pathetic to have feelings like that but it's just the marketing tactics doing the psychological manipulation they're designed to do. I'm only human. Luckily I'm also pretty cheap so that side of me has balanced things out. I've seen people drop boatloads of money on all sorts of physical collector hobbies totally impulsively and without much anguish. Completist mindset being the most extreme. Anyway, having been swept up in it various times I've both been lucky and also have overpaid in the long run. It used to be about finding holy grails for cheap in random bins at the record/thrift shop. Nowadays everyone now knows exactly what they have and prices always reflect median discogs or more. Miracle deals are literally that, more and more. Seems every single artist and label plays the limited pressing piranha bait game with some variation of the physical product, and that manufactured rarity has effectively replaced the grail dig deal hunting. The whole industry has adopted the RSD strategy as the norm.

Evan, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:05 (one week ago) link

yeah nowadays bargains are things like "here's a record that's cheap because it's completely trashed but if you thoroughly clean it you might get something listenable". apparently most cities will have a few guys who scour the Goodwills and other thrift shops and just scan everything to see if they can pick up a deal. I can't remember the last time I saw something in a bin that really excited me. I mean I've found stuff that I've really wanted but none of it was a particularly good deal compared to the discogs price.

the fact that everything's gone up in price definitely adds to that, though the entire market seems stupid and artificial at this point. I look at price history and see records I really want selling for $20-35 in 2019, but now all the copies are $70+, even though nobody actually buys at that price.

frogbs, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:28 (one week ago) link

Right. It's fun to look at my collection and go "Oh neat, this album got really rare. Good thing I got it when I did." On the other hand these days I can say that about so many of the albums in my collection that it doesn't bode well for me in regards to the albums on my want list. The future of bin hunting is mostly going to boil down to the potential of saving yourself the shipping cost along with the ability to check condition first hand.

Otherwise for new releases I'll have to know I want an album immediately in order to have a fighting chance to score the fun limited pressing before it sells out in a day or so. Beyond that day expect to pay double.

Evan, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:58 (one week ago) link


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