The End of Buying Music?

Presently, the top 40 music chart is based on the top 40 most purchased songs on iTunes each week. This changed from the top 40 most purchased songs in stores a couple of years ago, but nowadays is looking at iTunes purchases still a representative source? I say this because music streaming sites are becoming more popular, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, so do people still actually need to buy music?

Purchasing songs online killed off purchasing music in stores, due to the ease a song can be bought anywhere with internet and be listened to straight away. Now it appears as if music streaming is the next step, as it can be listened to anywhere without even having to purchase the song. This allows the user to discover new music easier, as instead of just buying songs that they have heard of and like, they can listen to any song without any extra cost. Music streaming services can also create playlists according to the user’s taste, meaning that the user doesn’t even need to look for songs but everything they could like is already laid out in front of them.

There appear to be more advantages with streaming music than buying it, which is probably the reason for its rising popularity. Streaming music can be much cheaper than buying for people who like listening to a lot of music. For example, songs are usually 99p each on iTunes, while on Spotify they can be free to listen to if the user does not mind the occasional advert. Sites like Youtube and Soundcloud are also commonly used for free music streaming. However it could be argued that purchasing music will mean that the song will be available to listen to even without internet. While this is true for Youtube, Soundcloud and the free version of Spotify, music streaming services are now adding offline listening so the music the user saves act as if the user has bought it. Even though this usually comes at a cost, it can still be cheaper than purchasing music for avid music listeners. Spotify Premium and Apple Music both cost £9.99 a month which equates to about £120 a year. £120 on iTunes would get about 120 songs, which is significantly less than the entire library of Spotify or Apple Music.

Music streaming is now creating more competition between rival services and will continue to do more and more so. This is when some music streaming services start offering exclusivity, which is what I think each service will have to do eventually. For example, Tidal offers their users exclusive albums and music videos at a higher quality than a typical MP3 file, however it comes at a cost of £19.99 a month; double that of Spotify and Apple Music.

I think that soon music streaming services could sign up artists to exclusively only release their music on that service. Could this mean that in the future we will have to choose which service to join depending on the artist or genre we like?


The Mental Game

Watching Wimbledon this year has really emphasised to me how much of an impact the mental state of mind of a player has on their performance. So far, this has been most evident in the third round match between Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi. Murray appeared to be going through to an easy straight sets victory after winning the first two sets 6-2, however Seppi then received a medical time-out in the third set after a slip. This changed the momentum of the match completely and Seppi won the third set 6-1, with Murray not winning a single game in that set after the time-out. In the fourth set, Murray called for medical attention on his shoulder and ending up winning that set 6-1, with Seppi not winning a single game after that time-out.

I have never witnessed such big momentum changes in a tennis match before, and also cannot see why medical time-outs can have such an effect. Whether the momentum change was due to the disruption in play, or if the physiotherapist had some incredible healing ability, it certainly affected the mind-set of both the players.

Tennis has always been a very mental game though, and sometimes the loss of one easy point can affect the mind-set of a player for the rest of the match. Negative thoughts can begin to creep in and build up with each point, game and set lost. I do not think the top players are there solely due to their physical ability, but also their mental. They are able to just come back from big set-backs and finish matches off quicker than most other people. Novak Djokovic showed his mental strength against Kevin Anderson in the fourth round tie, also at Wimbledon this year. Being two sets down, he managed to win the next three sets to win the match. I think that Roger Federer has also been very mentally strong at Wimbledon this year by winning his matches very quickly. This, as always, is mainly due to his physical ability, but it also shows his concentration and not faltering to the pressure and expectation. Of course his experience also plays a part.

One player who has been under-performing at Wimbledon in the past couple of years though has been Rafael Nadal. Being a two-time winner of the tournament in 2008 and 2010, he has failed to get past the fourth round for four consecutive years now. Injury could have played a part, but he has still been performing much better in other the grand slams, especially Roland Garros. Having a poor spell at Wimbledon in the past couple of years might have affected his mind-set coming into the tournament, but it can also affect the mind-set of his opponents. Therefore, as it is in no doubt that Nadal’s physical ability is among the best in the world, it shows that it could be the mental side of Nadal and his opponents that has been adversely affecting his performance.

Tennis can sometimes be a mental battle for a player, which is more evident in some players such as Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka who like to talk to themselves during matches. Perhaps the winners of Wimbledon this year will be decided in the players’ own mind before a ball is even hit.

One in Seven Billion

I consider finding a girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife not too far away from being a miracle, even though most people who want to be in a relationship will one day end up being in one. This is because although there are about seven billion people in the world right now, we can still somehow end up finding ‘the one’.

This is where it depends if you believe that things in life happen by chance or fate. When I look at this through the perspective of chance then it does seem like a miracle, because the chance of meeting ‘the one’ really is about one in seven billion theoretically; but then it’s not really. If that was true then most people will never find their perfect partner; or maybe no one actually does. Most likely, the person we end up being with will be someone we cross paths with, and so of course the chance of meeting them will be less than one in seven billion. But how can we be sure that we’ll cross paths with ‘the one’? This is probably not a healthy thought, especially when in a relationship, but what if the person you are with is not the best person in the world you could be with? I guess this is when cheating comes in, when someone finds that there are better people out there.

Then there is fate, which is when we are destined to be or not to be with someone; the more romantic idea. Although this idea does seem more like a fantasy, I do believe that it makes more sense, because just based on chance will mean that it’ll be easier for many people to win the lottery than find a partner. I still think that finding someone to be in a relationship with is still a miraculous event though, even when it happens every day. This is because although it is relatively easy for a person to have a crush, I think that the chances of the other person liking them back is surely so low. Out of everyone in the world, I find it crazy how two people can feel the same way about each other. If they have very similar interests then maybe it does work a bit easier, but it’s still not always the case as opposites can still attract. Perhaps I’m looking at this through the chance perspective though, which is most probably wrong.

I’m sure it takes more than chance for a couple to be together. Perhaps for many couples, it takes more than one look to like a person. Sometimes it will take getting to really know the other person to find out that things could really work out, however what are the chances that they will have similar thoughts and feelings?

It’s hard to explain how relationships work though, because don’t they usually just work? Everything just clicks doesn’t it? I find it hard to explain this ‘click’ though, why do we click with some people and not with others? It’s not just to do with similarities is it?