Here’s a subject that, in the main, i’ve managed to steer around so far, mainly because the topic is a) extremely subjective and, b) extremely subjective. Even so, i’m going to give it a bash and if you have any strong opinions either way, please feel free to comment 🙂
We all have different reasons for spending time in sl – some enjoy the companionship and social life, some live for the creativity, others find an outlet for roleplay and fantasy and a great many of us mix and match some, or all of these things in our second lives, combining different aspects to make ourselves an alternative reality that suits us perfectly. Whilst all these would no doubt feature within the top reasons for logging-in, and are pretty obvious examples that i’m sure would readily come to mind if any of us were to ponder the question, there are other – equally significant – factors that draw people into sl, and keep them there; factors that may not even be particularly strongly associated with being in a virtual world, yet are pretty strong drivers of satisfaction and retention for residents throughout sl.
One of the most potent examples is that of music. Take a representative sample of profiles and rifle through them and it won’t be long before you’ll come across the phrase “I’m here for the music”, or something very similar. That same batch of profiles will yield a plethora of picks related to clubs, dance and music venues and performers, and a quick glance at ‘upcoming events’ and ‘what’s hot now?’ in the Destination Guide will invariably show a strong bias towards locations and events based around music. As for DJs… when i first came to sl, it seemed to me that almost everybody was a DJ somewhere in sl – heck, i even considered giving it a go myself!
Where sl wins hands down over rl is in the sheer variety and range of musical genres and types that it exposes us to. Even those of us whose musical tastes are pretty far-ranging and eclectic – and i include myself amongst those, although i do try to keep my more off-the-wall idiosynchrasies well away from the blog, (Ukrainian balalaika thrash metal, anyone?) – can find ourselves being constantly surprised, and occasionally delighted, by the sheer wealth of musical styles in sl that have never crossed our paths in our everyday lives. Whether it’s an invitation to a new club, where the DJ’s collection demonstrates a wider scope than our own, or simply the audio stream that may accompany us whilst shopping, i’ve found that there is almost always something that will grab my attention and point me in a whole new direction of musical exploration. i am not the only person whose music collection has swollen exponentially since discovering sl!
However, as i may have mentioned, music and song is extremely subjective. One person’s idea of musical heaven is anothers’ hell and, since so many of us know what we like when it comes to music, being subjected to something alien can be a jarring and uncomfortable experience – and it is here that opinions can become very polarised.
Personally, i love the eclecticism that i’m exposed to simply by virtue of being in sl – i get an almost childish sense of joy and satisfaction when a new piece of music stops me in my tracks and sends me scrabbling for copy and paste, so that i can savour the moment again at my leisure and, more often than not, go off exploring on a whole new musical journey. Others might find this difficult to appreciate and may be so strongly allied to a particular style or genre of music that the very thought of listening to something different is anathema, and to stumble into a club or audio stream playing something unrecognised sends them scrambling for the ‘mute speaker’ button!
It’s true that we can tend towards being creatures of habit and the music that we enjoy, have been brought up with, is familiar to us and about which we are knowledgeable will be our primary interest. We’ll seek out venues that cater to our own specific tastes, filled with people that share our preferences, and we’ll never be happier than when listening to our own brand of music. We may listen to other styles, but they won’t all be to our taste and – in our opinion – some will be mediocre, some will be a bit pants, whilst there will always be some that are, to us, inconceivably dire.
My own perspective is that the sl music scene is just too darn exciting and illuminating for me to shut myself away and only dance to the beat of a single drum. Yes, i do have my favourite types of music – but these change over time and are not necessarily constant – similarly, i do identify with certain musical factions, but i don’t allow myself to be limited by them. Occasionally, i’ll feel the need to flex my musical wings, and i’ll flit from club to club, dance venue to live performance – perhaps settling down for a bit at one or another, or just paying a flying visit, never to return again – at other times, i’ll settle down to the comfortable, familiarity of a favourite haunt, content to be pampered by the music i enjoy… but i’ll never stop exploring, investigating and getting to know new music – i just couldn’t do that to myself – and, thank goodness, sl gives me the perfect opportunity and excuse to indulge myself.
Written by a composer who knocked out scores by the score to make a quick buck from undiscerning tourists, most pieces just a simple re-hashing of previous works – the same notes, themes and leitmotifs, albeit in a different order… the generic, poppy, gangnam style of its day. Yet, somehow, this particular, utterly sublime piece sneaked through the net.
Pour yourself a stiff drink, turn the lights down low and the volume up high, close your eyes and let this piece play havoc with your emotions! And, if you don’t like it, that’s fine too!