Comparing Oranges, Apples and Music
by Alex Cosper
Thursday, September 1, 2016

People often sound wise when they guard against certain comparisons, suggesting it's impossible to compare "apples with oranges." This cliche has been effective at shutting down comparisons such as apples, oranges and music. Why would music ever be compared with food or plant life?

The fact is, anything can be compared with anything, depending on the point you're trying to make. Music can be compared with anything in terms of level of enjoyment. If you would rather listen to music than do any other activity, then music can beat television, alchohol, bowling, pool halls and many other things generally unrelated to music. If you're down to your lack buck, some of the choices include an apple, an orange or a music download. The final decision comes down to multiple factors, which can be expressed as comparisons.

Comparing apples, oranges and music is more of a good mental exercise to prepare for more challenging work. This perspective allows you to think in terms of formulating a strategy. One way of quantifying the quality of a fruit or song is to ask customers to rate the product on a scale of 0 to 10. Regardless of the product, it falls under one umbrella that parallels customer satisfaction level. Viewing music as separate from other products bought by the same consumers, creates a limited perspective, since music is a big part of the bigger picture of lifestyle.

At one time music was its own unique purchasing category when consumers commonly had music budgets. These days many people have no need to be conscious of a music budget, since music can either be consumed freely or purchased cheaply. Music tends to be a given that it is abundant no matter where we travel. It's either free online or free on the radio. Since many people have traded their stereos for portable technology, people have less need to store physical media of their favorite music. Storing music in the cloud or on devices has become the norm as physical musical libraries becoming like rare museums.

Comparing apples, oranges and music gives you a broader look at the economy, nature and technology. From an economic standpoint, an apple, orange and music can be compared by price of one unit. From a natural standpoint, they can each be compared by how much natural energy it took to produce. As far as technology, they can each be compared by the type of technology that was involved to produce the results.

The apple and the orange are both metaphors for anything else imaginable. Anything can be compared with music as a product. It's important for people hoping to make a living off of music to understand that music now competes with other unlike products among purchases based on disposable income. A few CD albums, for example, compete with a bag of groceries for people who do not have disposable income for entertainment.

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