Greatly Exaggerated

Critic and editor Phil Freeman writes in today's Los Angeles Times that, far from this being an era of songs and playlists:

Albums are more contemplative, presuming and demanding both commitment and patience on the listener's part. But for those of us who love the idea of being permitted into an artist's world for an hour or so, that's how it should be -- and these are good times.

Mr. Freeman cites trends he has noticed, including downloading of albums as a prelude to puchasing the whole rather than a means to pick out individual songs, as reasons to be optimistic about the continuing availability of hour-long visits to an "artist's world".

The pressures/incentives to view music, both popular and concert, as background and/or soundtracks-of-my-life are great. Many concert music radio strations are no help, either, with their constant recycling of a few "hits" and their seeming inability to play a symphony.

However, the trends Mr. Freeman notes, as well, as the sales figures Alex Ross has pointed out from time to time, are reasons for optimism.

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