This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

You Don't Know What Your Kids Are Listening To

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Imagine a new sequel to Back to the Future: parking the Mr. Fusion-powered DeLorean outside a diner in the sparsely populated Midwest. New Levittown-style houses, poodle skirts, soda jerks, greasy hair, your Dad as a fresh-faced teenager.

Now, imagine that in this universe, everything is the same as it was then, except there are no jukeboxes and radio never yielded to the pressure to play rock 'n' roll. Adults have no idea how to buy or access the 45 RPM singles of "popular" music. Radios play only what they were playing when the adults were kids: Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby.

Kids get their music by trading with each other, buying singles at private shows where anybody over 25 can't get in and at secret locations that adults don't know about. The commercial music industry caters to both mutually exclusive demographics: stocking the kids' outlets with fresh new rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues 45s while saturating the airwaves with crooners, jazz-era greats and healthy doses of Liberace pablum and light classical music.

Each generation is isolated in its groove; the elders, mired in the past, are unable to reach the younger generation.

Must Read: Sorry United: Alaska and Virgin Fly Friendlier Skies

If that little generation-gap world strikes you as it does me -- a snow-globe scene from Hell -- then you may be frightened to hear that we are living quite close to a 21st Century version of that right now.

Teenagers and young adults are getting new music from social media -- each other, that is, in secret, far from the prying eyes and crusty taste buds of the adults. All they need is a hint and they can find new music faster than you could drop a dime on iTunes and way, way faster than you could find your old Whitney Houston CDs. They find it track by track, artist by artist, on Spotify, Google's (GOOG) YouTube and other sites online.

Adults have access to the same sites, but lack the social milieu to point them in the right direction. In other words, they have no idea what's going on there. No clue about the explosion of new styles happening right under their own roofs.

What are adults listening to? Retrograde choices suggested by Pandora (P - Get Report), Spotify, Beats Music, Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iTunes Radio, Rdio -- these services are all identical in that they give us a perfect rear-view mirror for all the music we ever held dear, overwhelming us with so many of those choices and ignoring -- more or less completely -- the new music that is coming straight at us like a Mack truck.

You listened to Led Zeppelin recently. Want to try Pink Floyd? Want to try Cream? Spotify asks me. I do love all three of those bands and have since I was 14. I'm excited to see their names pop up onto my screen as if they hadn't ceased to be relevant before the turn of the millennium. But I have to say, as the father of two teenagers, I find all this nursing of my sore, aging ego more than a little disturbing. When I'm spending all my time gazing at my own past, what am I missing about my kids' lives? Or my own life now?

Oh, you say, but I'm in touch! I know Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West -- I know what my kids are listening to. No, you don't. That stuff is broadcast radio and it is the smallest tip of the iceberg. The rest is closed off to us.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 -1.15%
P $9.89 4.80%
FB $118.00 1.10%
GOOG $693.01 0.29%
TSLA $240.76 -2.81%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs