Between Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, SoundCloud, and YouTube, I can queue up practically any artist, album, unreleased single, rare B-side, or other obnoxiously obscure piece of audio, all in a matter of seconds. This is, without a doubt, really fucking cool. In the wake of all this effortless, instant gratification, I can't help but think back to the days of yore: the expense of having to purchase a physical copy of an album in order to hear it, or the pain of waiting 15 minutes to download a single Nine Inch Nails track on Napster, only to find out halfway through that the file is totally corrupt.
As silly and outdated as that process may seem in the era of Spotify, those experiences played a critical role in shaping my distinct taste in, and appreciation for, music. Back in those heady days before Napster was undone by the Man (roughly 1999 to the mid-aughts), we were forced to wait and work for the music we wanted to hear -- and thus, we were more discerning consumers of it.