In my younger days I would do it once or twice a week, then when I moved out of town it went down to once a month, and come lockdown listening to music with friends became a virtual affair (what else did you think I was talking about?). The virtual sesh has proved to be an enduring and enjoyable way to spend time ‘together with friends’ listening to music and sharing stories. We are all in our listening room bubbles but with the aid of group chat apps (Instagram, Telegram, Signal etc), it’s possible to be playing the same music at approximately the same time and to make suggestions and comments without interrupting the sound.
If we were really organised it would be fairly easy to put a playlist together on Spotify or Tidal and have that lined up so that everyone was on the same page at the same time, but that would require planning so we tend to make suggestions with most putting a link from the relevant streaming service on the chat. Those of us who like to play vinyl whenever possible have the greater challenge of finding the relevant album quick enough to have it spinning at approximately the same time, but it really doesn’t matter if you’re not in sync. What counts is the camaraderie and the ideas for good stuff to play whatever the medium and this is where a decent sounding streaming services like Qobuz and Tidal really come into their own.
This pursuit does occasionally reveal limitations in the catalogues on offer that only Spotify can provide but generally you can find what you need. Unless it’s Chicago’s finest purveyors of post rock Tortoise who seem to have decided against putting their work on streaming services. I have also been listening to snooker legend Steve Davis’s radio show online recently (The Interesting Alternative Show) because he plays some genuinely interesting and unusual music, but a lot is so rare that neither Tidal nor Qobuz can help.
To get back to the point, we can still share our musical passions with like minded friends in these dark days of lockdown. Last year we even managed to convene when the restrictions were lifted and contributed suggestions to a Tidal playlist to avoid the prevarications of track selection (see a few above). It was even more of a hoot because it had been so long since the last real gathering and because we had kept in touch via the wonder of group chats since the spring.