Bob Dylan Blasts Modern Music And Streaming

Bob Dylan thinks that both making music and listening to it have been made too easy by technology.

By Mark McKee | Published

bob dylan

Technological advances have made everything easier, and some people think it has made everything too easy; our favorite artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Drake are just a click away. Bob Dylan is one of the most influential artists of all time, and the 81-year-old recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal to give his thoughts on the state of the industry. The “Mr. Tambourine Man” singer told the WSJ that we have made everything too easy and too painless, calling people pill-poppers, cube heads, and day trippers. 

Bob Dylan is speaking with six decades of experience in the industry, and when he rose to fame in the early 1960s, the only way to listen to music was to catch your favorite song on the radio or to buy the vinyl. As technology changed, the radio stayed the same, but vinyl turned to 8-tracks and cassettes, adding to the car experience. Now with the advent of streaming, every song that Dylan has produced is available at the touch of a button on Spotify

The artist believes that streaming has made everything too easy and that it has created an environment of what he described as pill poppers, cube heads, day trippers, hanging in, hanging out, gobbling blue devils, black mollies, nose candy, and gangsta grass. He continued to speak about how modern music has lost its heart, saying that you need a solar X-ray machine to find an artist’s heart if they still have one. Of course, fans of modern music would likely debate him on that specific point. 

The top ten most listened-to artists of all time on Spotify are all modern music (showing that older music fans prefer to use traditional consumption like downloads and physical). Among those artists are considered some of the most brilliant lyricists of all time, like Eminem, Drake, and the Korean sensation BTS. While the music has definitely changed since the days of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, the heart feels different for modern music. 

On the flip side, Dylan is experiencing the pumping out of music at a much faster rate than ever before, where streaming allows artists to develop a song and release them right away to their fans without going through a record company for distribution. That makes it easier for unknown artists to hijack the streaming services and take time away from artists like Bob Dylan or some more established artists. This could be driving his thoughts on the industry. 

The changing of the way the industry operates hasn’t hurt the artist, as he sold his entire catalog of songs to Sony back in 2020 for a small fortune of $150-$200 million. While modern artists would argue that Bob Dylan has maybe missed the point of today’s lyrical approach and focus on the beat, he has spent enough time in the industry that he knows what he is doing. When someone like Dylan speaks up about the state of music in the world, Spotify and others most definitely listen.