How Music Lost Its Body

Not so long ago music
was a relationship between a musician and an instrument,
a performance in front of an audience,
a sharing of a space through sound.

Then those spinning discs took music
from the musician, the instrument, and the space of performance,
bringing sound right into ears, minds, and hands as a commodity form.

The discs became larger,
then were joined by tape spooling
and digital discs promising perfect sound forever.

But forever turned out to be
about twenty years,
as discs
slipped into computers
found themselves further reduced
to bits, copied and shared, spun
into downloads.

We used to pay for music as a thing–
an LP, cassette, CD,
or downloadable chunk–
until its thingyness became a stream.

Now music lives on my phone,
in my pocket,
a flow of sound for a monthly fee.
Where music was once a relationship,
a concerted sharing,
it’s now a portable soundtrack
following me wherever I go
but without a body of its own.

One thought on “How Music Lost Its Body

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