(New York Times) – In the last few weeks, my two children, ages 4 and 2, have suddenly become obsessed with Simon and Garfunkel.
At their insistence, the 1960s folk duo is the only music we listen to during car rides. My son, the older child, can recite several lines of “The Sound of Silence,” a single that hit the pop charts nearly half a century before he was born. Their interest in 1960s-era folk came on the heels of their deep dive into Maroon 5, the annoyingly catchy pop group; a monthslong mania for Michael Jackson; and an intermittent passion for a staggering range of singles from every era and genre.
Their cultural acumen is entirely the product of technology — in particular, being introduced to new artists through Spotify, the world’s largest subscription music-streaming service. According to executives at Spotify, my children offer a peek at the future of music consumption. Spotify, which has just introduced a new version of its app, says that because online streaming services let us call up and listen to anything we like, and because its curated playlists push us toward new stuff, we are all increasingly escaping rigid genres.
That trend looks sure to accelerate as streaming becomes ubiquitous. At its annual developer conference on Monday, Apple is expected to unveil a streaming music service based on its acquisition of Beats, the company co-founded by the music impresarios Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, and best known for its headphones.