Does the Law of diminishing marginal utility apply to music too?

Let’s go back to the early 1950’s where every child used to wait eagerly for musicians to announce the release date of their new album. The begging of pocket money in advance to purchase CD’s from the vintage DVD shop at the corner of the street is seen no more. Nowadays, with the advent of technology, everyone sits eagerly at their computers, waiting to download the album for free. Some people argue that the apparent disinterest in the days leading to the release of a music album indicates that music holds a lesser value in our lives nowadays compared to the past, but this is not entirely true.

Digital technologies have affected every aspect of our life. It is but obvious that the music industry has been affected by this too. Some people argue that since music is plentiful and readily available online, its value has been diluted. However, I personally disagree with this perspective.  Earlier, people used to listen to music on cassettes, and now, streaming services like Spotify have taken over. Just because the struggle to access music is no more, it doesn’t mean that we value it any less. In fact, the easier access to all sorts of music has exposed us to the rich variety of music all over the world, which has in turn made it seem more valuable.

In today’s world, music is not the only source of entertainment. With the advancement of technology, music competes with a wide variety of movies, soap operas, podcasts, and television shows. Perspective two holds that although we still value music, we have a lot of other ways to spend our money. Since “Cheap is good, but free is better”, why should people spend money on music, when they might as well spend it on something else? Paid music gives people the incentive to easily shift over to other sources of entertainment.

Another potential take on this issue is that with the introduction of many free sources of music, people are discovering new music now more than ever. I strongly agree with this. In earlier days, people used to buy albums of only tried and tested musicians to be on the safer side. However, nowadays, everyone can listen to sample music for free, and thus the cost of buying music does not restrict them from listening to new artists, who in turn take the music industry forward. An exposure to a wider variety of music from different countries, genres, and cultures has increased our appreciation for it.

In conclusion, I believe that although the advancement in technology has changed our relationship with music for the better, it has not decreased the value that music holds in our lives, but has increased it.

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