Shopaholic Confessional #3: Binge

via Pixar

My name is Poindexter McQueen. I am a raging shopaholic and I have not shopped for five days. Last week was a bad week. I fell off the wagon is spectacular fashion (pardon the pun) and I am wholly repentant. The funny thing is, $300.00 later, I feel far better than I should. Ease off the judgement face. It’s not quite what you think.

It was a binge; a long one. Online shopping is at its most alluring when you’re done. From the safety of my bedroom with only the computer screen for illumination, there was no one to witness me buy. No one to silently judge me for trying to fix bad feelings with magnetized plastic.  Between work troubles and budding health issues, it was bound to spill over. The coincidental death and destruction of not one but two pairs of both exquisite and exquisitely cheap sunglasses was the straw that broke the camels back. Out came the credit card.

It’s never one thing. It’s always many. Above is most of what I bought and absolutely none of it was on sale. Places like Pinterest, H&M and Forever 21 make it so easy to self-medicate. Just visiting the website makes me feel compelled to buy. As though the minimalist setup on the H&M site will somehow rub off if I buy something from them or the numb weightless feeling from Forever 21 will stay if I buy something. Obviously, none of this is true, but that’s doesn’t help my will power. Polyvore chirping that “Items you’ve saved are on sale” is another unhealthy distraction. How am I supposed to be a fake minimalist if everything is blaring “BUY FROM US” all the time?

Here’s how I know capsule wardrobing and the idea of wardrobe minimalism got to me: I returned more than half of what I bought. There was no rationalizing or bargaining. None of that, “oh I’ll just tailor it,” nonsense. If I needed it, I kept it. There was never a “Maybe I’ll like it better later” or “It’s good for right now.” None of it. Back into the package they went never to be seen by me again. Last year, that never would have happened. All of the items fit my “perfect minimalist wardrobe” ideal, but still, back they went. Except for the sunglasses. I have two pairs of shitty sunglasses that I can’t fix. These gems are staying. The cami fits perfectly and is so delightfully loose that it’s already been worn twice. The Reformation tee hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s made of linen so as long as the fit is right, it stays too. My current black tee is beat to hell and has warped in such a way that can only be expected from high street cotton jersey.

I fell off the wagon, but got back on. What was required was obtained and frivolous things were returned. A free at-home-spa-day helped to soften the blow and now my nails have adorable little dots on them and my toenails look stylishly frostbitten. Minimalism as a concept is still a tricky idea I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I cannot say it hasn’t helped. There are lessons to be learned from it. It may be a trendy lifestyle, but it is not without merit. But, I’m non-committal. So, I’ll just take what I like and leave the bulk to more disciplined people than myself. Thus far though, I’ll say the experiment was worth the attempt and my finances (and closet) continue to thank me. Pardon me while I go and delete the Polyvore app…

Tidal for 30 days

Testing out my trial for Tidal was pretty straightforward.  The layout of the web version looks just like Spotify, but I suppose that was bound to happen.  It’s a nice service with exclusive content, but strictly pay for play platform with no free option like what Spotify and Pandora offer.  Honestly, it yielded the expected results.  But, why are they trying to make me care about Beyonce making more money?

The Twitter marketing seemed off from the jump, but it’s this constant touting of Tidal as a revolution that screams particularly foul.  The truth is, it’s another streaming service with it’s own unique assets, but another service nonetheless.  What’s more off-putting is when the artists you place on the stage to present this are established and already very well off pillars of the music community.  Beyonce, Kanye West, Madonna and Nicki Minaj need more of my money?  Whereas I understand putting your big names behind the business to reach a wider audience, if you’re approach is your streaming service puts more money in the hands of the “starving artists,” shouldn’t you put the starving ones out in front or nah?

At the end of the day, it’s still a trick pivot to somehow bypass the larger problem: labels.   Spotify claims that they’ve “paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.”  Okay, so how is Tidal going to make it rain on artists like they say they will?

“How Sway???”

More money to the label is meant to equal more money to the artist.  It seems this fight for monetary compensation for the artists, while is admirable in theory, seems to be directed at the wrong people.  It’s not the streaming services that are the problem, but the labels.  It’s one of those universally understood truths that the labels will inherently take as much as humanly possible.  I admit, I forgot about the label’s roll in music streaming services.  After all, who owns the rights to these catalogs and who’s permission is ultimately required to license this music? Oh, that’s right.

If only this had been marketed better.  Put the little unknown artists that you should know out first, and made the known millionaires who are selling out world tours silent or quieter supporters.  This service should have been about music snobbery and exclusive content.  Turn the public into discerning snobs by touting Tidal as providing a better quality of sound.  Educate listeners on “quality” sound so that Bob Johnson from apartment 2B who hasn’t bought a CD since 2001 can feel like he’s a sonic connoisseur because he listens to Tidal with its CD quality lossless files and you pedestrians are missing out.  Tidal should have been about creating fake music snobs, not trying to get consumers to spend more on a streaming service they already don’t pay for just because artists deserve their money too.

The service is fine enough, but nobody is really going to leave free services just because it puts more money into funding Madonna’s personal trainer.  By all means, put more money into the hands of these struggling Indie artists.  God knows they could use it.  But, don’t use Alicia Keys and Daft Punk to sell the idea that a revolution is necessary and on the horizon via Tidal.   Besides, it seems more and more that if there is a “revolution,” it should be aimed at the labels, not the streaming services.

*one day, I’ll post things on time instead of letting them fester in my drafts. One day…