Whether or not those circular scratches in plastic remain how we listen to music, the fundamental truth that was uttered back in the day still holds:
It’s in the grooves.
Meaning: You—artists, arrangers, producers, managers, record labels, media, fans—can blah, blah, blah about business, production, charts, back story, gossip, about what is, what could have been, what should have been.
But in the end, it is about the music, as it plays, as it sounds. Nothing anybody says, no matter how central, no matter how insightful, enlightening or fascinating, changes that.
The real life and real world concerns surrounding a record are far from unimportant, especially to those directly involved. But if that is the beast, then the heart of the beast, or its soul and essence, is the music.
So if you find yourself deeply engaged in all the music chatter, when you can, once in a while, shut out the extraneous and, politely, shut up and listen. Because even if the grooves are gone, they are still the only place recorded music actually lives.