Futuristic Fridays: Introduction (A Future Without Spotify and Netflix- what would it look like?)

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Welcome to Futuristic Fridays- a space where we can discuss all things future. It may be a post about an up and coming band, or even a futuristic technological gadget that could become pivotal in changing the lives of society and the people within it. Regardless, each week I will be discussing about an issue that has recently been tugging at my heart, and after the post, hopefully it’ll be tugging at yours as well.

Frankly, the world is evolving and becoming a place where instantaneous gratification has become the focus for many developments and technological advances. The ideology that we want things now at an instant has become so overwhelming for us that we often deny that this change in us is even happening. But when it comes down to it, we all are wanting more access to things now, even if we know in our hearts that the opposite needs to happen- to slow down and not be overly consuming when it comes to the TV shows we watch and the music we listen to.

Both Netflix and Spotify have come and revolutionised the realms of TV shows and music respectively. With Netflix being a streaming service where you can virtually find any TV show (usually as a season) and stream it (at a very low cost) without having the burden of waiting long periods between episodes, it is through Netflix that binge-TV show watching has been rising. A phenomenon that usually occurs when someone watches multiple episodes (or even an entire season) of a show, just because the availability is there and the show is so addictive, has become increasingly popular amongst subscribers to the streaming service. Similarly with Spotify (which links to your facebook account), virtually any song can be found on the application, and with no commitment to you (and never having to purchase the albums again from iTunes), you can stream the songs on Spotify til your heart’s content. Availability and accessibility to television shows and music has never been easier now when compared to a few decades ago, let alone a few years ago.

Why am I discussing this topic about Spotify and Netflix within this Futuristic Friday’s introductory post? I’ve been reflecting these last few days and as much as both Spotify and Netflix are very real now, the effects that these applications have on today’s society can have flow on effects to tomorrow’s future. More often than we’d like to admit, when we binge-watch a television show, all other priorities fly out the window- the washing of clothes, the cleaning of yourself, and then at the end of the day, you’re left with someone who is willing to sacrifice sleep to have a few more minutes in front of their favourite show (I know that’s a bit extreme but some people do that!). Similarly, a culture has been brooding that hardly ever pays for music (because why would you with Spotify?).

These patterns and trends pose the question- what would the future look like if both Spotify and Netflix were erased from existence. Before we embark on a series on Fridays when we discuss about new developments in society, let us just think for a moment and ponder what it would be like if some of the things in our lives that we take for granted (like Netflix and Spotify) are suddenly gone. Would we be able to cope, interact and communicate easily without it? Or would we even realise that what we have been doing all along is just believing that having access to the material faster, quicker and more often is always going to be better and more satisfying?

These are questions that don’t have easy answers. And as I have pondered about Spotify and Netflix, I have also reflected upon the Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 10:23, about how even if and though we have the right (or in this case access) to everything, it doesn’t mean that it is all good for us- physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. Sure the shows we watch are great, and the music we can listen to is at our fingertips, but the cost of all of that needs to be weighed up. Now more than ever we live in an impatient culture. Hopefully, through this post, we can all reflect on whether Netflix and Spotify are a help or a hindrance to us, as we ponder what our own futures would be like, aside from these things instead of alongside. Just because something is great technologically and will enhance the future in almost every way, doesn’t mean that it’ll enhance it in the ways that matter.

What do you think God is showing about ourselves through both these services? What has God been teaching you about your own future? How has the instant gratification of today’s society rubbed off on yourself (I’m sure everyone is the culprit here!)? Comment away, and let us continue this journey of discussing about the future, all the while being reminded that our futures are always great with Christ at the centre!

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