Digital technology…what a wonderful thing it is! It has changed the modern music industry in countless ways: from making production more efficient to connecting musicians all over the world. It has even made distribution of music an instantaneous process.
Like any technological advancement, there are some bad things that come along with the good. I can go on all day about the degradation of fidelity or the financial implications digital distribution brings, but I was recently slapped in the face by an observation I made at a show at a great independent venue named Reggie’s in Chicago. After visiting the lounge, the record store and band merch area, I made my way to the balcony where I could take in the entire room and really get a feel for the place. The sound and lights were great. The bands were all well rehearsed and enthusiastic, but something seemed strange and it took me about five minutes to figure it out. It was Friday night at 10pm and the room was pretty full and about 30% of the room were typing on their phones while the band played on stage. I was a little disturbed by the image of the band pouring out their hearts and all these people ignoring them to keep up with their social media circles. This got me thinking about how much time I waste and how much I actually miss trying to keep up with things in the digital world, and that even though this digital technology really can make the world a better place, it is easy to fall out of balance with it.
A few days later I heard about the inaugural Northwest Day of Digital Detox that is happening this Saturday in Olympia, Washington. It is an annual event that is not so much meant to be an anti-technology rally, but an opportunity “to step away from your technology, guilt free…relax, unwind, unplug, detach, disconnect and enjoy five blissful hours of live music, free from any texting, posts, comments, uploads or likes.”