2023 was, by many metrics, my least musical year. Across the board the numbers are glaring. Fewest new artists, genres, scrobbles, and raw minutes. Once again dominated by Boards of Canada and Lana Del Rey. Historically those two groups have made up the bulk of my listening during my professional career. It's easy to put either one on and git a massive amount of work done. Even so, we're looking at historic lows even for BoC.

What happened? Well, three things: podcasts, YouTube, Twitch, and office changes.


I've long been a podcast guy. Since roughly 2011 I've listened to podcasts numbering in the triple digit ranges. Some of them ended prematurely and were mourned and some continue on in a zombie like state. Of particular dominance in 2023 were "Chapo Trap House", "True Anon", and the Merlin Mann family of two-guys-podcasting-shows but specifically "Roderick on the Line." Post election and semi-post-pandemic CTH kept my toe dipped in political discourse enough. TA is a show about human misery and routinely features the worst possible things people do to one another. As for RotL, I like John and I like Merlin. Simple as.

The side effect of listening to that much podcasting is that it tends to just make me miserable. A long form version of doomscrolling piped directly into my ears. Most of my adult life has been a delicate balance between feeling informed and being utterly depressed about being informed, and it just so happens 2023 is the first full year I've been on a form of depression medication.


Long form video essays took over a large portion of my listening time. Brief seven-hour retrospectives of games I've never played. Also 9 hour brief retrospectives on games I've played so much that I could nod sagely as the narrator described some story beat or mechanic.


In 2023 I also ended up putting on more Twitch streams as background noise. There's a small collection of streamers that took up a bulk of that time, biggest of which was: Barricade. There's about a half dozen other developer streams that I picked up over this period of time. I'll have them listed in a separate page under the About section.


2023 saw two major changes here. Directlink moved offices and we had some departures. The reduced size of the team led toward more time spent being open to answering questions. The change in office meant that I could no longer get up and walk around downtown on breaks. That means less time sitting at my desk with noise canceling headphones and even less time walking around with my AfterShokz Aeropex.

What am I going to do about it?

Well, I don't know. So far this year I've started playing music as part of my morning routine.

Historically, after getting out of bed I would put on a podcast or YouTube video, make breakfast, jump in the shower, get dressed, and drive to work. This year I've tried to listen to recommendations and morning mixes and the like. It's worked to an extent. I've also started blocking out certain periods of the day where I can put headphones on for an hour and be a bit more productive. In general it's helped increase my mood (although I'm sure the anti-depressants also helped).

I'm not sure what other steps to take. I think the most I can do is re-prioritize music in my day-to-day and see what happens.