Guest Post: Where the Clouds are Like Headlines on a New Front-page Sky

Kristine Brandsdal Barane

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Vidar Hope, journalist and musician. Photo Credit: Per Egil Larsen
Vidar Hope, journalist and musician. Photo Credit: Per Egil Larsen

There’s really not much difference in the way we choose to listen music and how we read, watch and listen to the news online. We discard what we don’t like, and we add more of what we like.

By Vidar Hope, journalist and musician.

Will artists continue to release traditional music albums in a few years? And will we be able to read about them in traditional online newspapers, like we do today? The answer is yes, but this will, in any case, be the exception.

The Norwegian band Röyksopp released their last conventional album last year. The duo, now focusing on new formats for releasing their music, recently told dagbladet.no upon releasing “The inevitable end”, that a possible way forward is to release three or four songs at a time.

The reason for this is simple: streaming services have given the listener new listening habits. Even though some people, this writer included, swear upon the good old 40 minute album, we see a new generation of listeners basing their music experience on custom-made playlists.

From Albums To Songs
One favourite song after another is being put together in playlists that expand the length of the traditional album four or five times. And who knows, maybe the overall quality is expanded as well. Quantity doesn’t matter anymore. We’re left with the cream of the crop. Different playlists meet different listening needs. Of course this isn’t a loss for the music business, who act accordingly.

When the stars of tomorrow release their music, they will follow

Röyksopp’s lead: a few songs at a time. Long playing records are not attractive anymore.

People want the hit, not the shit.

Illustration Photo. Credit: Jon S.
Illustration Photo. Credit: Jon S.

You Choose Your News
We’ll see the same tendency as digital newspapers move towards more personally directed news streams. A few of them are well on their way already. While we used to read newspapers from first to last page – or scroll the front page case after case, like a music album song after song, we will soon start putting together the content that interests us ourselves. If not, the newspaper will do it for us.

In the same way we will discard the content that doesn’t suit us. Just like your personal playlist. We all want the breaking news. Sports, but only football and golf. Culture, but only news about music, tv-series and cinema. Politics, but only domestic. The business world, but only certain businesses. And so it goes.

We’ve all had personal feeds for a long time. My facebook feed is different to yours. The same goes for twitter. I follow whatever interests me, just to ignore all the rest. In the near future I might subscribe to small news from my local newspaper, the most important news from my regional paper and certain selected sections from nationwide papers that I like. Along with videos and podcasts. All in the same feed. One subscription to several media houses. Throw in my favorite twitter, instagram and facebook accounts to make it even more interesting.

More Individual and Personal Products
Technologically speaking it’s a piece of cake. The same way traditional albums are being deconstructed and recirculated into different playlists, traditional newspapers are being cut up and put together as a more personally directed product.

From a nostalgic point of view one might find it sad to see the nuances fade. With tomorrows mindset Tom Waits might have thrown away a few of the songs on “Heart of Saturday night”. In the same way there are a lot of good, not least important, journalism that won’t make people’s headlines. After all you don’t make money on what doesn’t make people’s playlists or newsfeeds.