Music for your mind

As there are changes in the advancements of technology, most aspects of life are being modified to the digital world. The shift from radio to streaming music is an example of this. Platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and SoundCloud offer the ability to stream music. Most of the younger generation tends to listen to music via streaming services. 

Freshman Grace McDonough said using online streaming platforms is more convenient for her to use rather than the radio. 

“I stream all of my music through the Spotify app,” McDonough said. 

Users’ ability to listen to the same artist is becoming more unlikely with new advancements in streaming services. Live concerts are dwindling in popularity due to COVID-19 and loss of money. Online streaming services offer an experience that is more affordable and convenient. 

Some artists choose to stream on Instagram, TikTok and other platforms that allow individuals to hear them sing live for free. This became a realistic way to stream their music safely during the pandemic. 

When people were quarantined in their houses, everyone was unable to go to concerts. This took a toll on mental health especially since there were limited outlets. The pandemic helped people to appreciate the ability to stream music from platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. Individuals were able to use technology to their advantage by looking up music at their disposal.

Similar to McDonough’s statement, freshman Billy Berger explains which platforms he uses for all his music. 

“I stream my music through Apple Music, SoundCloud, and sometimes Spotify,” Berger said.  

People choose to use different outlets to benefit their mental health. Some may use journaling, working out, or socializing with family or friends. A popular outlet for individuals is listening to music, because different genres of music can reflect different moods. Apple Music, Spotify, and other platforms help users find similar artists and ways to express themselves through music.

The beauty of streaming services is that people can create and join playlists with other users. Spotify offers a service called “blends” which will combine a person’s most-played music with another user’s, finding songs both listen to often. This allows individuals to connect with others based on their music tastes. 

Streaming music has the ability to benefit one’s mental health due to the customization of playlists. Social media is another factor when it comes to music streaming. Listeners are able to find new music to add to their playlists simply by scrolling through social media feeds such as TikTok. Since TikTok has been on the rise, users have been able to find countless songs to enjoy through the platform’s algorithm and popular audios. 

NAU jazz studies professor Rob Wallace said he prefers to listen to his music traditionally, avoiding modern day streaming platforms. 

“I do not frequently stream music,” Wallace said. “Occasionally I will use Bandcamp or SoundCloud to listen to clips of newer artists, but I prefer to purchase physical copies of compact discs, cassettes, or vinyl if possible, regardless of the genre or era of music.” 

This shows there is a disparity in streaming tendencies based on generational differences. Like Wallace said he prefers streaming music through traditional sources rather than using modern sources. 

Previous generations grew up using technologies such as vinyl, cassettes and CDs to listen to music so they are typically unfamiliar with modern streaming platforms. Individuals from these time periods are less likely to understand how streaming music can impact one’s mental health. Despite the difference in technology, different generations can still enjoy music in their own way. 

“I do believe that music can positively influence mental health, and so if someone is positively affected by listening to music by streaming services — more power to them,” Wallace said. 

This just shows that music can help boost someone’s mood and give them a little extra pep for their day.Wallace said he understands how mental health can affect individuals to a certain extent. 

“However, most streaming services do not financially help the musicians themselves,” Wallace said. “So in that sense streaming services might have an overall negative mental health effect on musicians whose work is featured on the services.” 

Some artists could be affected mentally from low income, therefore causing an effect on one’s mental health. 

As streaming music has become well known amongst younger generations the older generations may lose their traditional ways (CDs and cassettes) of listening to music. However, some technology such as vinyl and record players are making their comeback. 

Overall, most people tend to use music as an outlet for dealing with mental health since it can provide a boost in mood. McDonough and Berger use music to help them cope in different ways. However, Wallace listens to music in a different way than students. Generational differences are prevalent when it comes to streaming music and digital platforms in general. 

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