Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Living by Numbers



The current plan is to release the After School Video Club album in January.  Exciting isn't it?  An album.... WOW!  It'll be on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon MP3, So On and So Forth.

Well, I'm excited.  But maths - as maths does - does its best to keep the excitement in check.

As much as I've been able to work out, in February 2013 the iTunes store had 26 million songs available.  As I type this, it now has 43 million songs.   That means, assuming a linear progression (which it might not be), 894,736 new songs are made available every month, or 29,824 new songs every single day.



The album is probably going to have 16 - yes, SIXTEEN - tracks on it.  Wowzers - that gets the probability up a bit, eh?  Yes it does - what that means, is that on the very day it is released, a whopping 0.053% of all the new music released will be by After School Video Club.

Double wow with knobs on.

The democratisation of music is a wonderful thing.  The fact I, you, anyone, can release a record at any time that can be bought instantly by billions of people all over the world is simply extraordinary, coming from an era when even buying music could be tough, and releasing it even tougher.  Streaming now makes it even easier, bypassing that whole thought process about whether any particular song is worth it (oh the effort).  But the obvious downside is that we are all now drowning in a sea - an ocean - of stuff.  Much of it is doubtless terrible, but again I'm struck by the inescapable thought that this can't entirely be the case.  Lost Songs is all about the hidden gems of the past, but how many great songs are released every single day that will be heard pretty much only by the artists themselves, their best mates and their mums?  Of those 30,000 songs per day, even if only one percent are any good at all, that's still 300 good brand new songs, every single day, 110,000 per year, all the artists hoping against hope that someone outside their Christmas Card list may actually notice they exist.

Well count me and my fatalism in.  By arming myself with maths and facts and confidently expecting nothing, I have reason on my side.  But maths and reason never stopped anyone did it?  I've just read that 32,000,000 people in the UK buy a lottery ticket every week, armed with the knowledge that they have a 1 in 14,000,000 chance of winning that jackpot.



Who looks daft now, eh?



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