On Music Media, Late Releases, and the Race to Be First
For music nerds, year-end lists are one of the greatest goodies to come along with the holiday season. Just like fresh socks found in our stocking, music lists are a gift most of us can count on to keep us warm in the new year. Recently, however, the race to be #FIRST has moved this tradition to the forefront of the holiday season, reflecting a bit of the money behind the music (list). Much like the commercialization of Christmas, capitalism’s influence on music (and media) has been growing larger with every year, but like a Christmas commercial in October, it’s never pleasant to be reminded of the dollars and cents behind the tradition.
This was most evident yesterday when a handful of musical publications published their lists for the top 50 albums of 2015, racing to grab that sweet, sweet early December traffic just in time to give the albums there in a nice sales bump. Or, that’s what it would look like if you didn’t know these posts were curated and published long beforehand.
Rolling Stone might try to convince you that D’Angelo released Black Messiah during 2015, but this is as true as Donald Trump’s latest proclamation. D’Angelo set the internet (and early best of 2014 lists) ablaze in mid-December when he suddenly released Black Messiah only ten days before Christmas. It was a welcome gift for all, but it was well before the calendar flip.
This, of course, is the simplest reason these early year-end lists are silly. And while there is no real crime in the escalation of early content scheduling, it does provide a solid opportunity for us to turn around and laugh at the machine, if not just a little bit, before we indulge ourselves with the best of 2015.
After all, here at LYFSTYL we have a full array of year-end content planned for you wonderful readers. From personal lists to an aggregate top albums list, we promise to deliver you the most incredible eargasms from the last year. But don’t think you’re going to get off that easy, dear reader. We’ve got to know you really want it, after all. Therefore we’re going to take our time in detailing the best of the past year here at LYFSTYL, warming you up with tracks and tantalizing albums we may have missed before launching into our feature lists.
So sit back, read, and listen. December is a month of giving, and we’re feeling generous. But don’t get too excited. We’re going to take our time with this. We can’t have one egocentric individual spectacularly spoil the moment for everyone.
After all, December is a time for messiahs, not mere mortal musicians.