Yes, kids today have the equivalent of “the midnight wait” when Spotify or the streaming service of your choice posts new music as Thursday turns to Friday, but it’s a wholly individualistic experience. There used to be great joy in trekking down to your local record store when a big release came out, often with other fans waiting in anticipation to pick up a brand new album from your favorite artist.
But this was a different time, a time in which you didn’t have half the album out before its release, a time when your biggest gatekeepers to new music knowledge were music magazines, MTV and your local record store employees. Typically, you might have heard one song prior to the album’s release and read an interview somewhere digging a little deeper into the music, but the rest of the album remained a mystery until you were finally able to get your hands on it for the first time. There was pure joy in taking that album home, analyzing the artwork and lyrics, zoning in mentally on every note played and lyric sung, quickly picking out those standout moments and forming your opinion largely based on hearing that music without a wealth of previous clues.
There was mystique, there was anticipation and there was a shared buzz with fellow music customers at the store who were also just as hyped up to hear their favorite artists’ latest release without the information overload that we have today. You could actually listen to an album and for the most part be totally unaware of what you were about to experience, and having that shared anticipation with others only heightened how excited you were to get something new and be the first to share your opinions with others. Simply put, the anticipation of the midnight release was something you lived for as a music fan and is something that feels totally lost in today’s “everything now” disposable music climate.