Anywhere, Anytime


Like food, we serve up ever-larger portion sizes of music. It greets us in the morning as our phone alarm. We might even sing to it in the shower. On the way to work, our iPod is shuffling away. Once inside the office, we turn on Pandora and go about our work day. Often, we don’t create the playlists and listening sessions ourselves. iTunes Genius and Pandora generate them for us. Listening requires no effort. We just press play. It’s there.

We hear music all day, but never listen to it. We passively hear it in the background. In order to get the same baseline of pleasure from our music, we need to consume more of it. We’re like the participants in the milkshake study, searching for further satisfaction. And we never find it.

Soon enough, the pieces of music that used to give us goosebumps, leave us cold. The first time we heard the song, it stirred something deep inside of us. Then we played it again and again until it burned us out. Listening to the song no longer rewards us. Our brain has memorized the patterns. It knows that the bridge is near. And the more we train it to anticipate the part we like, the less dopamine gets displaced as a result.

What once resembled a cheese and stuffed burger is now a Banquet Chicken Pot Pie. Frantically, we peak into our library looking for the musical equivalents of Cheetos. We’re satisfied, for now. But Chester Cheetah knows we’ll be back for more soon. This is why it’s important to savor your music. We’re required to invest very little of ourselves today. Add a few more levers. Your music will taste much more delicious.