A new game.
Uber-boomers–the very brightest twinkles in the eye of World War II–are beginning to retire, collect SS as well as Actual Health Benefits (as opposed to spending so much money on private health insurance that you can’t afford doctor visits), and, well, die. This process won’t be pretty and, for most of us, it won’t be quick, and millions of us will (despite our firm belief that of course we’ll jump off a bridge first) end up in nursing homes. These places will be called something else, but they’ll be nursing homes, and regardless of changes in medical technology there will be certain constants. The most haunting of these is, to me, the music we are going to have no choice in hearing.
It won’t be Stephen Foster songs. It won’t be Glenn Miller. It will be…what? What is your worst-case most-often-played future nursing home music?
I’ll go first.
“Hotel California.” I’m sure of this.
You may also nominate a best-case. “Gimme Shelter” would be lovely.
Go to it.
Can you even create a muzak version of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”?
The soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar?
The theme to Three’s Company? The Love Boat? Laverne and Shirley?
Actually, by the time y’all get there, the trend will probably be away from music (or Muzak) and toward almost constant advertising. I mean, think of it! A captive audience of people who will not die, but no longer have dependents! Imagine the marketability! …demographic…monetize…ROI…bounce rate…brandstorming…metrics…exit strategy…exit strategy…exit strategy………….
No choice? Of course we’ll have a choice. I expect to listen to my entire music collection, currently about 40GB, transmitted from the iCloud to the Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids embedded in my skull. We’ll all be listening to whatever was popular when we were between 14 and 19 (pity the later boomers who get Disco).
When we moved Mom to the nursing home last winter, we ripped her entire CD collection and put it on a thumb drive that plugs into her TV. Sure, it’s low-tech, but come on! She was a teenager during the Great Depression. At 89, she’s the only resident in the place that has TiVo (but Pandora and Netflix Streaming were a bridge too far).
In my limited experience with nursing homes (mother-in-law and now Mom), they don’t have PA systems playing music/muzak. It’s noisy enough with everyone having their own TV, all turned up to 11.
Kristin–How will we be marketable? What will be be buying? I can’t see us as a prize demographic. We’ll have Everything We Need (except the gas pipe).
Bob–Actually what I’m hoping is for internet access. When and if we get there, those of us who are still more or less ourselves won’t need anything else. Still, I fear the music…
Everybody wants a direct brain-to-Google interface. And they’re working on it, at Google X and an institution in RI&PP that you’re familiar with. I thought I was ahead of the curve when I had that USB port installed when they took out my gall bladder (in four pieces) a couple of years ago, but it’s all WiFi these days. And ball bearings.
I’m a 68-year-old over-educated woman who rocks around my kitchen being Tina Turner while chopping vegetables, hair flinging and all, Proud Mary belting from my iPod. If “they” Muzak Tina, that will suit my probable capabilities for hair-flinging at age 98 but will devastate my mind as I lie there still thinking her moves and spirit but hearing something with all spirit removed. If only for its ability to transport whatever moves our spirit to wherever we happen to be, I nominate the iPod for invention of the century.
I imagine it’ll probably be songs for which the rights won’t be terribly expensive. Be prepared for Maria Muldaur to usher you gently into that good night…