My daughter, Callie, came up with a chart that helps us to define our level of commitment to a song or an artist. Think of it like a chart: you have to figure out where you fit on it. Are you wicked addicted to music, or do you just buy a song at a time?
It basically breaks down into 7 groups.
Say you hear a song on the car radio and it gets your head moving a little bit. How do you react to it? You reach over and turn the volume up a little, first of all. Then you might open Shazam to find out who it is – or what song it is. Shazam is great, isn’t it? If for nothing else than to keep track of songs you heard on the radio that you’d like to look deeper into. Then you go home and look up the artist and song. You buy the song from iTunes or Google Music. From there, what’s your next step?
Obviously I’m not talking about people who only consume music on Spotify or Pandora. They don’t count. I’m talking about those of us who actually still buy the music we love.
So let’s break down the levels.
- Song. You like the song, so you buy it on iTunes. Maybe you do this with fifty songs, then toss them on a CD and make a mix-disc. This is where it ends for the song though.
- Album. You like the song, so you decide you should get the whole album. You pick up the CD, the record, or download the whole album from iTunes.
- Discography. You’re pretty serious about this song you heard, and you have a great ear for music. So you know when you can trust a song to sell not just an album, but the artist’s entire discography. All studio albums.
- Catalog. The catalog is the entire studio album discography, plus live albums, compilations (like greatest hits), collaborations with other artists and maybe even side-projects. Like Mad Season by way of Alice in Chains.
- Connections. So everyone in the band has released solo works. You start into collecting those. The Stones are a perfect example of this, because Charlie, Mick, Keith and Ronnie have all released solo albums.
- Authority. You take this artist so seriously that you start chasing signed copies, posters, TV interviews, concerts on video disc, and whatever else you can get your hands on. And of course you attend concerts.
- Divergence. Here’s the top level. You like this artist so much that you start listening to songs on his or her playlist. Songs the artist recommends start interesting you. So with this new song, do you start again at the top?
I think it’s a brilliant little chart. And I know for sure that I’m a Level 5 on at least one band. I’m a Level 4 with Dave Matthews. Janis Ian is a Level 3 for me. There are, of course, some that I won’t make Level 3 on. Like Jefferson Airplane, Neil Diamond, Little River Band and Fleetwood Mac, to name a few. Sorry, but I think when Lindsey and Stevie joined the band, they brought the good with them. (The fact that Stevie wrote their only number 1 hit ever says something, but I digress.)
So where are you on the list? Of course it can’t be the same level with every song and artist you hear, because you would Kevin Bacon yourself into every freakin’ record ever put out. But I’m interested to know if anyone has tripped the counter and gone from Level 7 of one artist to Level 1 of the new find, then started climbing the chart again! How Deep Is Your Love for the artist?