Millennials vs the Punk Rock Generation: APM’s Marketplace accidentally illustrates absurdity

Someone has to say this. Might as well be me.

Punk Rock Generation: We rebelled by protesting wars, dictatorships, apartheid, government corruption, the military industrial complex, polluting corporations, the christian right,  the draft, nuclear power, the slaughter of sea mammals, and even other punk rockers.  We were at times tear gassed and beaten by police (See Dead Kennedys Wilmington CA).

Millennials:   We rebel by not paying for stuff.  We want bean bag chairs at work.

I was listening to a story about a pirate streaming service on APM’s Marketplace yesterday and I was surprised that the following statement about “millennials” not paying for stuff went un-mocked:

This is a pretty common sentiment for people born anytime after, say, the early 80s. Millennial Michael Krynski is 29. Here’s how he sums it up: “We’re like the Napster Generation. We just expect things to be available (free) online. Everything we’re looking for.”

Krynski runs a blog all about how to stream content for free. Most of his readers are under 30, and he says, “They have money, but they don’t want to give money to companies that are still in this old school distribution model.”

Old school distributions model?  You mean paying?  Cause illegal and legal streams are all distributed the same way.  You know that right?  You do understand how the internet works?

So what you’re really saying is:  Millennial rebellion is rooted in some pseudo moralistic justification of theft based on which businesses use the discredited web 2.0 “freemium” business models?

That’s where you take a stand?


(Personally I don’t buy this crap. I don’t believe there is a “millennial” generation with a different set of values than any previous generation.  Every generation has it’s selfish lazy assholes who are willing to justify any sort of behavior by claiming to speak for their generation.  And every twenty years or so marketers invent a new generation so they can pitch their consultancies, books, analytics and speaking tours.  But since the media seems determined to cram this current fiction down our throats we might as well have some fun with it by following the fiction to it’s logical conclusion.)


14 thoughts on “Millennials vs the Punk Rock Generation: APM’s Marketplace accidentally illustrates absurdity

  1. I was just reading this article on Wired
    it’s going around, the idea is how to keep Apple music free. Anyway, in the comments, a person who claims they are even an Apple software developer rags on Apple music and brags about how he and “millions of other people every day” just rip music fro YouTube videos, ignorant of the irony of bragging about that while being a software developer…

  2. Not sure if a “Gen X’er” like me is considered part of the Punk Rock Generation. I’m stuck between them and the millennials maybe. Anyway, I think that 911 and the big brother clampdown that ensued and the fear mongering present everywhere has really caused the kind of activism you mention to seem too dangerous to many young folks these days. That, combined with the fact that they are far more distracted these days by the myriad forms of technodrivel and gaming, and etc. to have energy left to give a shit, it seems, causes less standing up to the man. As to ripping music off for free, we used to dub copies of albums onto cassettes for friends, back in the ’80’s. But that, of course, was a little different. Mix tapes and a dubbed copy of an album we thought someone would like was a matter of giving gifts. The fact that we didn’t go out and purchase an actual copy of the album makes me ask why were dual cassette players even invented? I never considered myself a pirate or felt like I was robbing AC/DC. But I guess I was a pirate? Just postulating here, but I think that part of it may be the fact that mp3’s are like air. It ain’t like sticking a Ramones tape down your pants and cooly walking out of the store. It’s less indiscreet and apparently doesn’t feel like stealing at all. The lack of actual physical hard copy is enabling. I dunno. Just thinking out loud.

  3. I just finished reading Stephen Witt’s excellent “How Music Got Free” and on the back jacket it asks the question, “What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?” I realize I’m preaching to the choir here, but I hope someone will take a moment to examine the mass psychosis behind their cognitive dissonance. Just because ‘everyone is doing it’ doesn’t make it radical. No rebel in their right mind would go along with that hurr durr. Generation Pokemon is a brainwashed victim of privateers

  4. I heard this report twice yesterday, so glad you chimed in David. I couldn’t believe that the reporter didn’t call it what it was…stealing. It’s not condoned at Target right? My kids live under the rules of the house – no stealing content allowed.

  5. The Punk Rock Generation ‘broke’ the old school music industry by bypassing it. Making their own records, starting their own labels, opening their own clubs, creating their own magazines and fanzines. Creativity broke the status quo. Now it seems Millennials are happy with the status quo, so long as they don’t have to pay for it. How uncreative can you get.

    1. I was born in 1983. I buy albums on CD. Most of the albums I buy consist of old folk, blues and classical music recordings. From what I’ve read about streaming, it seems like it will push labels to take even less risks than with the “old physical model” as the potential for good a revenue return is up in the air and even then that return takes much longer to trickle in.

      I led a band that consistently packed a well known club in New York City, where I live, but we were never paid. We had multiple people with contacts in the music industry pushing their friends to sign us but we were considered “quirky”, and hence not a good enough bet. I continue to write music but with same “issues” as before. I am always advised to build a “social media following” because that’s “what people do now”. I’d rather write and perform music- my time is limited enough as it is earning a living.

      I may be a statistical outlier- I don’t know. I strongly suspect however that there are others like me.

      1. Milo, y’all suspects correct. I am constantly dismayed by the amount of time we have to spend conforming to the man’s database requirements. And in the end, we all get it in the end.

        You’re not a statistical outlier, we are all suffering the same indignities while that Spotify brat is laughing all the way to the bank.


  6. To be fair, the attitudes and defining cultural characteristics of “millennials” reflect the norms established – or more likely not established – by their parents, who were the punkers so named. They want things to be free because their parents just said, “Whatever, just don’t get caught and give me some of it too, ’cause I’m still cooler than you think.”

    We have a few generations who were raised in a culture of hyper-consumerism, breeding discontent among those who couldn’t afford the necessary “look” and the toys that everyone else has. Sadly, millennials have no manners because their moms and dads were too busy imitating Sid Vicious and his drooling episodes.

    On top of all this, we have the new media, which is Google-Youtube and the hateful MyFace, telling you what it is and how it goes. It’s no wonder no one wants to pay for music when we have young people with no manners eagerly doing whatever Google says. It’s all about examples.

    1. You may be describing American punk, I don’t know. But most punk and New Wave was extremely socially conscious. The Clash and all that… Sid Viscious has very little to do with ‘punk’ as mentioned in the piece above. He was a larger than life, cartoon figure, who crashed and burned in the blink of an eye. Hardly relevant to the indie revolution the punks started and new wavers continued with a vengeance. Rampant consumerism has more to do with the societies Thatcher and Reagan put in place I think – though I’m not a social or political authority.

  7. I had some thoughts on this same topic from a different perspective. Writers have been going through this longer than musicians and what we are seeing happen to all artists is the devaluation of their work to a point where it has no value at all. I actually made a living as an author for many years, but I watched that erode…here’s a bit of what I’ve experienced (lucky I had a tech background to fall back on):

  8. You wanna see some heads explode? Try explaining to somebody of the aforementioned demographic that even when you spend your $.99 to purchase the music, you still don’t “own” it, you only purchase the right to listen to it at your time of choosing. To me, that’s the larger discussion.

  9. My friend posted this on facebook so I wanted to repost my response:

    I’d like to point out that much of the late 70s punk scene was just shock value and misdirected anger without much knowledge (in fact you could argue early punk was more an art thing that got bastardized into a pseudo-revolution). Sure you had the Clash, but even they started initially as a swastika-wearing “fuck everything for no reason” group. Then the 80s hardcore punk movement was anger directed at nothing (disguised as uninformed anger at Reagan – the few informed groups being Dead Kennedys, MDC, yadda yadda). On top of that, it was an INCREDIBLY masculine movement, there were rarely women or LGBT voices and when there were they were ostracized for it, e.g. the Big Boys / Bad Brains story.
    Then you’ve got the whole yknow hardcore becoming more and more about “crew” mentality and the violence between the punks vs. skins and whatnot, so ultimately I’d say as a revolution, punk failed.
    SO we ain’t so different after all!

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