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Topic: 'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus (Read 17362 times) previous topic - next topic
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'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #25
I can listen to entire albums on Spotify. In fact this is exactly how I use Spotify.

Am I losing intimacy because the format is lossy or the source material was subject to DRC?  The jury is still out as to whether Spotify is actually exacerbating the DRC problem.

I can ask Poppy this next time I run into her if you like.

EDIT: As for the DTS study, I'd like to see it hold up under scrutiny, provided it is made available. To me, the suggestion of needing higher bit rates appears to be part of their narrative; at least it has in the past.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #26
Also the few non classical CD's I've bought, Godspeed, you black emperor, REM, Natalie Merchant, John Surman, Yello, so on and so forth... have all been OK, either that or I'm deaf to brickwalling... :-)

If done carefully as to avoid audible clipping, and with the proper tools, I don't know that DRC has to be all that bad.

Here's something that's probably worth looking at:
http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=107539
I've only read the first two posts, however.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #27
Once the chance to listen to music was generally infrequent and thus tended to be a special treat. Now one has to practically hide in the cellar under a heavy blanket to get away from it - and that frequently will not work either. We, or at least people in my part of the world, are blasted with music playback virtually anywhere we go in public and it often invades one's home from neighbors or the street. It is played in most stores and  too often there are even speakers at the gasoline pumps.

Quite aside from the fact that one thus has little choice about what music he is assaulted with, it is often too loud, as in the amplifier is turned up too high, and playback is of poor quality. The source is also often of poor quality, as in typifying the worser aspects of the loudness war, but commonly the environment is rather, or very, noisy and the PA system delivery is distorted.

I find that this greatly cheapens music, making me often shun it when I have a choice, even if the circumstances allow me to choose the material and the delivery I would want if I wanted some.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #28
I can listen to entire albums on Spotify. In fact this is exactly how I use Spotify.


That would make you the exception though and not the rule. "Recently collected Spotify data illustrates how short our musical attention spans have become. There's only about a 50% chance we'll actually make it to the end of a song." Is this claim false or even in question?

Am I losing intimacy because the format is lossy or the source material was subject to DRC?  The jury is still out as to whether Spotify is actually exacerbating the DRC problem.


I got the impression it was more about the folks who weren't getting to the end of the song 50% of the time. Are they losing intimacy? And it does seem that Poppy Crumb feels that they are. "True love or appreciation for a piece of music ... comes with depth of knowledge  of that music," she said. She cited three important factors in creating a genuine experience with a piece of music — "repeated exposure, iterations and intent" "Those sorts of heightened emotional responses of pleasure and enjoyment and satisfaction come in a way that is counter to rapid, quick streaming and constant exposure to a lot of different things,"

She did say that this was a trade off for an increase in access and that she felt the benefits outweigh the negative effects but there is nothing ambiguous about her claim that there are these negative effects. Of course if you, as a user of Spotify are not only getting to the end of a song but are listening to entire albums then I can see how this problem is hard for you to relate to.

I can ask Poppy this next time I run into her if you like.

EDIT: As for the DTS study, I'd like to see it hold up under scrutiny, provided it is made available. To me, the suggestion of needing higher bit rates appears to be part of their narrative; at least it has in the past.


Is there any reason to think this particular study is any less reliable than your typical garden variety study?  Is this a bogus study? Is the drop is SQ from higher bit rates to 96-kbps an audio myth? If so then I would say you have a legitimate gripe there.

It's not something I personally worry about. I love Spotify as a resource for new music. And who knows, maybe the reason for the 50% song completion rate is because people are using Spotify to look for new music. I do that all the time. Maybe a lot of that is people figuring out whether or not they like something before the song ended.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #29
Well OK, sorry if my question was hard to understand or seemed poorly framed. But it does sound like you are agreeing with the basic facts stated in the article that you found so objectionable. Why do you find it so objectionable?


I think you and I read a different article...or  have a different idea what 'basic facts' they are trying to impart.

Would you agree the article demonstrates its main claim that 'science shows there is only one real way to listen to music'? Or that 'digital doesn't hold up'?

The article conflates the 1) unprecedented *availability and variety* of music today via internet channels,  with 2) the *sound quality*, with a supposed 3) lack of attention to/connection with music

Instead of 'blaming' 3 on 1, it blames 2.  And in blaming 2, it conflates two different factors --lossy compression, and dynamic range compression.  Neither of which are absolutely *necessary* to digital downloads or streaming.  Lossy is the more 'necessary' of the two, for streaming, but obviously audibility of lossyness is taken as a given in the article, when it's not in reality.


Even as regards 3, does the article offer any evidence that in days of radio, people didn't routinely cut off listening to a song, or skip around from tune to tune?  I surely remember them doing both.  Dynamic range compression was *already* common in days of radio, too.  And decried back in the day, too.


It's  good that in the comments to the article, knowledegable commentors have basically called out the author's ignorance from the start.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #30
I can listen to entire albums on Spotify. In fact this is exactly how I use Spotify.


That would make you the exception though and not the rule. "Recently collected Spotify data illustrates how short our musical attention spans have become. There's only about a 50% chance we'll actually make it to the end of a song." Is this claim false or even in question?



Is there any historical trend data to put it in context?  That's the first thing you should ask.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #31
First off, it's Crum, not Crumb.

I do not dispute the Spotify statistics and will gladly concede I'm an outlier.

I imagine I'm an outlier in using the 160 kbit service as well.  Have you ever attempted to ABX Ogg Vorbis at q5?

Re: DTS
The DTS study was based on brainwaves and presented as if it were marketing material.  I hope I don't need to say much more.  If it was specific about what encoder was used for 96kbits, I missed it.

Oh yeah, where are the brain scans comparing an iTunes download against used vinyl as shown at the top of the article?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #32
I especially liked that his reference link for vinyl being equivalent to 1000kbps was Yahoo Answers. (h/t to the commenter who pointed it out. Who can go through all that drivel to find out?)

Ever seen this quote:
Quote
it is very unlikely that we could use a data rate close to that found in the auditory cortex (c. 500kb/s) to transparently code the features we extract in normal listening.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #34
A great deal of modern music of a fair number of genre, or at least a great deal of what I've been exposed to, contains very little in any given song. There are a few notes of melody with accompanying instruments that is repeated over and over and over and over. There is a little bit of lyric, most often more or less nonsense, that is repeated over and over and over and over. Why does anyone want to listen all the way to the end of the track?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #35
The science they quote shows nothing of the sort, of course.

Behold the latest steaming load of horsh*t from the vinylphile camp

http://mic.com/articles/104250/what-the-in...r-love-of-music



It starts out with an interesting claim:

"Steve Jobs, the man who invented the iPod and ignited the digital music revolution, never listened to MP3s."

I'm thinking, well that's dumb he no doubt listened to MP4s, but is that what they mean?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #36
A great deal of modern music of a fair number of genre, or at least a great deal of what I've been exposed to, contains very little in any given song. There are a few notes of melody with accompanying instruments that is repeated over and over and over and over. There is a little bit of lyric, most often more or less nonsense, that is repeated over and over and over and over. Why does anyone want to listen all the way to the end of the track?


IMO this is a false issue. I heard it for years from people who were critical of contemporary christian music which was indeed a real true blue religious argument.

Objective analysis of legacy sheet music going back centuries shows that music has always been composed of  "...a few notes of melody with accompanying instruments that is repeated over and over and over and over. There is a little bit of lyric, most often more or less nonsense, that is repeated over and over and over and over."

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #37
It certainly true that the same approach has been used for a long time, and I never liked it a long time ago either, but that is hardly true of all music, not the music I incidently used to hear, nor the music I sought out and collected. I often hear the same theme, or whatever the correct musical nomenclature may be, repeated over and over in a section of a symphony, or even several different places throughout, but usually it keeps developing with each cycle, only a part at the beginning of each phrase is exactly the same. This is also true of much other instrumental music, but not true of the pop stuff.

There is a great deal of older sung music that has verses, several or many, but each is different, not a repeat of the same lyrics. There is often a chorus that is more or less identical between verses, but at least there is something to - potentially, anyway - keep one's interest going forward. Maybe the older stuff was the pop  music of its day, maybe it was always more a niche thing.

Then again, a lot of what has been popular in the last 50 years fits into the multiple different verses kind of product, or is still more diverse in that there are not distinct verses but just a theme that keeps developing forward. Consider a great deal of Boy Dylan's earlier stuff. There was also music by many other artists of that time that was not the short repeating clip stuff.

Maybe there is still considerable music of that sort being created now. I hear far too much of recent pop, hip hop, rap, soul, etc. etc. that assaults me practically every time I go out of the house. Thus I have no interest in seeking out any additional modern stuff. That which I have no choice about, with an infrequent pleasant exception, is almost always as I described in my previous post. After one or two rounds, it would be nice if a fuse automatically blew and shut the darn stuff off.

In older material, or at least the older material to which I pay any attention, the music, as distinct from the developing lyrics, is often repeated in each verse of a song but, going purely on impressions, not analysis, it frequently seems more complex and more varied, less blatantly identical with each round. Not infrequently the same notes get played a little differently, at least part of the time. The bit that gets repeated is generally longer, thus there is more to it. Much or most of the newer stuff to which I am, forcefully, exposed is quite different.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #38
Quote
There's only about a 50% chance we'll actually make it to the end of a song."


That will be me then.

I try and give a tune at least 30 seconds in total and at least 3 dips but frankly even that is usually difficult. Songs I do like go into a playlist for later but the hit rate is very low. Certainly less than 1:10.

It' a trade off. The study may or may not be right about extended repeat listening increasing enjoyment (why not disenjoyment?) but rapid selection and quick decision making massively increases your chances of finding stuff that really appeals to you.

I wonder how long you have to listen before the royalty is due? If it is playing the track at all people like me have made some not very good artists a lot of money. If it's 30 secs or longer I've been gaming the system.

Surely no one doesn't like a track at 96kbps but then decide they do at a higher bit rate?

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #39
One way to listen? Yes, sure - one must first visually inspect the gear (and, in particular, the price tag), and the delivery format - otherwise one has no way to tell good from bad.

... right?
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #40
A great deal of modern music of a fair number of genre, or at least a great deal of what I've been exposed to, contains very little in any given song. There are a few notes of melody with accompanying instruments that is repeated over and over and over and over. There is a little bit of lyric, most often more or less nonsense, that is repeated over and over and over and over. Why does anyone want to listen all the way to the end of the track?
[...]
Maybe there is still considerable music of that sort being created now.


This has been the case forever, Mr Old & Grumpy.  There's plenty of wonderful music being made today; some of it is even popular. It's difficult to suggest artists though, since there's a 90% chance any music suggestion does not match the other's preferences. Try some websites like pandora and last.fm, to see what people listen to. I assure you it's not all hypercompressed conceptually void pop tunez!

Quote
making me often shun it when I have a choice, even if the circumstances allow me to choose the material and the delivery I would want if I wanted some.

I can relate to this, though. At 33, it is slowly but  surely becoming my time to become the grump. Oh, dubstep! *shakes fist*

Quote
And who knows, maybe the reason for the 50% song completion rate is because people are using Spotify to look for new music.

A reasonable hypothesis.
I sometimes traipse around bandcamp just listening around, and yes, I don't often complete songs then.

Quote
As Poppy says, repeated and careful listening meant that we were able to derive the maximum return on our investment.

What audiosnobbery. I do this anyway, regardless of having a wealth of other music at my fingertips.

Quote
Had I briefly sampled any of these wonderful works on a streaming service, they would have been dismissed and forgotten, and as a result I would have denied myself the pleasure they have given me.

I understand, but there's way too much music out there to worry about what could have been. If in your life you find yourself flowing to a new genre, the music will find you.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #41
Well OK, sorry if my question was hard to understand or seemed poorly framed. But it does sound like you are agreeing with the basic facts stated in the article that you found so objectionable. Why do you find it so objectionable?


I think you and I read a different article...or  have a different idea what 'basic facts' they are trying to impart.

Would you agree the article demonstrates its main claim that 'science shows there is only one real way to listen to music'? Or that 'digital doesn't hold up'?


I think we read the same article but It looks like you stopped at "digital doesn't hold up:" The full quote is "Digital doesn't hold up: Nothing about the way we listen to music these days commands attention like or yields the quality of a physical record. Though there is a movement back towards vinyl, there's an even bigger movement towards streaming — and with it, a whole new paradigm for how we hear music."

What I took from that full thought was the issue was peoples' listening habits and how they are affected by the medium they use to listen with. And I think it does support it's main claim that being "There is a movement towards streaming and with it a whole new paradigm for how we hear music.



The article conflates the 1) unprecedented *availability and variety* of music today via internet channels,  with 2) the *sound quality*, with a supposed 3) lack of attention to/connection with music

Instead of 'blaming' 3 on 1, it blames 2.  And in blaming 2, it conflates two different factors --lossy compression, and dynamic range compression.  Neither of which are absolutely *necessary* to digital downloads or streaming.  Lossy is the more 'necessary' of the two, for streaming, but obviously audibility of lossyness is taken as a given in the article, when it's not in reality.


We definitely took very different things from the same article. I didn't see any conflation of variety and availability with sound quality. The article is about listening habits and how they affect our connection with music. This part is the center piece of the article.

"True love or appreciation for a piece of music ... comes with depth of knowledge of that music," she said. She cited three important factors in creating a genuine experience with a piece of music — "repeated exposure, iterations and intent" — which can be short-circuited in a "taste and go" environment. To her mind, though, the benefits of streaming in terms of access and broad music appreciation far outweigh the potential negative effects of streaming habits on our emotional experience.

"Those sorts of heightened emotional responses of pleasure and enjoyment and satisfaction come in a way that is counter to rapid, quick streaming and constant exposure to a lot of different things," Crum said.

Skipping and listening inattentively, then, can get in the way of building those connections: "[It] wouldn't be experienced initially, and would bypassed very quickly in a sort of 'taste and go' streaming environment."


Even as regards 3, does the article offer any evidence that in days of radio, people didn't routinely cut off listening to a song, or skip around from tune to tune?  I surely remember them doing both. 


The article doesn't address how people listened to the radio in the past. The article isn't about that.



How people listened to the radio in the past does not change or affect how people listen to streaming music today. Would the main point of the article, that being "True love or appreciation for a piece of music ... comes with depth of knowledge of that music,"  There are three important factors in creating a genuine experience with a piece of music — "repeated exposure, iterations and intent" — which can be short-circuited in a "taste and go" environment. "Those sorts of heightened emotional responses of pleasure and enjoyment and satisfaction come in a way that is counter to rapid, quick streaming and constant exposure to a lot of different things,"



Dynamic range compression was *already* common in days of radio, too.  And decried back in the day, too.


It's  good that in the comments to the article, knowledegable commentors have basically called out the author's ignorance from the start


Aside from not having the same kind of data about how people listened to the radio this article clearly isn't about how people used to listen to the radio. It's about current listening habits and how those habits kill peoples' connections to music.

So we may have read the same article but we read it differently. I get the feeling you were derailed at "digital doesn't hold up:"

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #42
I was 'derailed' at the title, which is arrant  nonsense.  There is no 'right' way to listen to music, and science has *never* said there was.  It's not even the type of claim science would make.

But I read the whole article.  There is nothing today, just as there was nothing in the past, to prevent listeners from skipping songs, or playing only part of a song.  There is ALSO nothing preventing them from repeatedly and closely listening to songs.

And historical context does matter.  I'm sure people have more content to choose from more easily and cheaply today than ever before. (That , btw, is what Poppy Crum , aka 'science' in this article, considers an overriding benefit ) Reporting how Spotify listeners listen is fine, but what is the context?  *How* different is it from the past?  Are non-spotify users today doing the same? 

And the stuff you 'didn't see' -- e,g, conflating types of compression -- was apparently 'seen' by others on this thread, so perhaps you should read again?

This is just another half-assed , sloppily written clickbait article that wants to tell us that digital audio *and* digital audio delivery methods are bad for us.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #43
Well OK, sorry if my question was hard to understand or seemed poorly framed. But it does sound like you are agreeing with the basic facts stated in the article that you found so objectionable. Why do you find it so objectionable?


I think you and I read a different article...or  have a different idea what 'basic facts' they are trying to impart.

Would you agree the article demonstrates its main claim that 'science shows there is only one real way to listen to music'? Or that 'digital doesn't hold up'?


I think we read the same article but It looks like you stopped at "digital doesn't hold up:" The full quote is "Digital doesn't hold up: Nothing about the way we listen to music these days commands attention like or yields the quality of a physical record. Though there is a movement back towards vinyl, there's an even bigger movement towards streaming — and with it, a whole new paradigm for how we hear music."

What I took from that full thought was the issue was peoples' listening habits and how they are affected by the medium they use to listen with. And I think it does support it's main claim that being "There is a movement towards streaming and with it a whole new paradigm for how we hear music.


What I took away is that listening to vinyl generally was a lot of trouble and in the end it was also painful due to the copious audible noise and distortion.  Now you can call that engagement, but I call it hassle.

CDs were a whole lot better both in terms of ease of use and also and most importantly sound quality. But you still had to play media manager.

Now my CD collection is on a media server on my household network that I access with the same digital player I use for most video. Media management is inherent courtesy of EAC and web song/track servers. When I rip it, its managed.

Does getting far better sound than LP with far less hassle than LP or CD detract from musical engagement?  Does something have to hurt to feel good? YMMV.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #44
Does getting far better sound than LP with far less hassle than LP or CD detract from musical engagement?  Does something have to hurt to feel good? YMMV.

Put it like that and of course the logical response is "no, of course it shouldn't".

But I get this feeling that there is some kind of psychological factor at work, in that the more you are forced to engage with the delivery mechanism, the more you are likely to engage with the listening process. So all the hassle involved in playing an LP (or reel-to-reel tape) could actually lead you to pay greater attention to what you're listening to. CDs and cassettes reduced this engagement, and now streaming takes it down a further notch. End result: people care less about what they are listening to. (At least, that is my interpretation of what Poppy Crum was saying).

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #45
> in that the more you are forced to engage with the delivery mechanism, the more you are likely to engage with the listening process.

It seems obvious that the effect is there, but there's a breaking point where the hassle is too great and results in zero engagement, i.e. not bothering to play the music at all. This sudden death limit is different for all people, of course.

Doesn't it then become a question of how much hurt you can take? Is a bit of music listening supposed to be the reward (or a bonus, maybe) for managing to withstand the effort needed to play it? Are you a better, more engaged person if you can take more? Personally, I feel that's not right.

Easy music all the way and forever! I'll choose to engage if I so desire, but I don't want walls between me and my music. It would be like having to duel my bartender in a swordfight every time I order a drink:

"Hello, three Brand, please"
"Sure. EN GARDE!" ~schwinggg~
"...Sigh. This had better be an amazing beer. HAVE AT THEE" ~schwinggg~


'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #47
Does getting far better sound than LP with far less hassle than LP or CD detract from musical engagement?  Does something have to hurt to feel good? YMMV.

Put it like that and of course the logical response is "no, of course it shouldn't".

But I get this feeling that there is some kind of psychological factor at work, in that the more you are forced to engage with the delivery mechanism, the more you are likely to engage with the listening process.


(1) Show me a believable scientific study with that outcome, and you have a sale!

(2) Isn't there a really good possibility that engagement with the delivery format will distract from engagement with the music?  Do they combine to the same favorable outcome, or do they compete?

(3) One a music library gets sufficiently large, I've noticed that just finding the recording I want to listen to can be an issue. IME a digital music server with everything logically organized solves that problem pretty well. Not being able to pull up a recording you want to hear NOW can be a BIG distraction.

(4) I can carry around a large chunk of my home music library around on my portable digital player, which helps my engagement by allowing me to listen to what I want to listen to when I want to listen to it.  One of the key prerequisites for engagement is the time to be engaged, and having the music library in one's pocket helps optimize that.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #48
(1) Show me a believable scientific study with that outcome, and you have a sale!

Of course you know I can't. I was just speculating.

(2) Isn't there a really good possibility that engagement with the delivery format will distract from engagement with the music?  Do they combine to the same favorable outcome, or do they compete?

Do you mean that one can get so involved with cleaning the LP and operating the turntable that we forget to listen? I agree that there are some audiophiles whose primary concern is the equipment and the sound quality, with the music being secondary. Direct-cut and Windham Hill LPs (most of which are of questionable musical value) are good evidence for that.

But that's a separate issue. All I can do is observe that kids these days use music as an aural backdrop to whatever else they are doing, whereas when I was a kid I actually listened to an album without any other distractions. I am speculating that the investment in time and effort to get the music playing is a contributing factor.

(3) One a music library gets sufficiently large, I've noticed that just finding the recording I want to listen to can be an issue. IME a digital music server with everything logically organized solves that problem pretty well. Not being able to pull up a recording you want to hear NOW can be a BIG distraction.

When I used LPs and CDs, they were arranged alphabetically. Finding the exact album I wanted was easy. Not quite as easy as calling it up in my current Squeezebox-based system, of course, but it really wasn't a problem.

On the other hand, something that you *can't* do with a digital collection is to walk up to your LPs/CDs and randomly flit across them until your eyes fall upon something that makes you think "yes, I'll play that one". I kind of miss that. Random play from a digital collection just doesn't work the same way.

(4) I can carry around a large chunk of my home music library around on my portable digital player, which helps my engagement by allowing me to listen to what I want to listen to when I want to listen to it.  One of the key prerequisites for engagement is the time to be engaged, and having the music library in one's pocket helps optimize that.

Agreed.

Just in case anyone thinks I'm some kind of Luddite, wedded to my LP collection, let me state that all my music (including the LPs, suitably digitized) is on a server, there are 4 Squeezeboxes around the house for playback, and I have a 40GB Sansa Clip+ for portable use.

'Science' Shows There's Only One Real Way to Listen to Mus

Reply #49
I can't be bothered to use quotes for this, but: "emotional power".

Just what kind of mind bending sorcery are they referring to this time!?

Their "scientific results" weren't gathered using the scientific method.

I really like vinyl. I love listening to them, but claiming superiority seems to never get old with the old "audiophoologists".
I'm getting tired of reiterations of the whole thing, though.

 
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