A New World

Abbey Road

Okay, I’m not old, but I remember popping in records onto the family record player and singing along with Bert and Ernie. We didn’t have a ton of records, exactly, but it was cool in retrospect.

Then there were the cassette tapes. They were limited (in retrospect), but they could hold soooo much music!

God this sounds antiquated, but I remember when my family brought home the first CD player. We set it up, arranged the speakers, and stood around in amazement. It wasn’t only the quality that was so incredible, but the fact that you could SKIP TO WHATEVER TRACK YOU WANTED! And it only took less than a second!

We thought it was so cool. It was such a huge change at the time.

So why is it that this whole digital music revolution doesn’t seem quite so…revolutionary?

The iTunes Store just surpassed Wal-Mart as the nation’s top music distributor. Sure, people are still downloading their stuff illegally, but more music is being bought online in digital-only form than is being bought in an actual, physical state. The days of impressive CD collections in those massive storage towers are quickly fading.

In one sense it’s cool: I have thousands of songs on a device that is smaller than a pack of cards. On the other hand, it makes me feel like we’re starting to miss something.

Records were COOL. Not just because of the pops and hisses that you’d hear before the song started up, but because the covers were HUGE! What a cool way to show off unique, original artwork. The music was the main experience, but would the legendary Abbey Road cover have become so iconic if it was only viewable on a 2-inch iPod screen instead of a massive record sliver?

Another issue: how many people are actually downloading ENTIRE albums of music, instead of just a song or two at a time? Shouldn’t listening to an artist’s music be an entire experience, rather than just a stop along the way of listening to your favorite 25 songs? I’ve actually been forcing myself to listen to a CD from start to finish rather than skipping around everywhere.

I’m not even going to delve into the illegal downloading issue. We could spend hours discussing what it means to the future of the music industry, but honestly, I’m tired of that discussion.

What is getting to me is that music distribution has changed so much, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Brad and I used to drive down the road flipping through our CD binders, trying to figure out what to listen to next. Now I drive down the road with my iPod plugged into the auxiliary port of my Element, figuring out if I want to listen to an entire album, a playlist, an audiobook, or a podcast (and they think texting while driving is dangerous).

Don’t get me wrong: I love the convenience (and the coolness) of having my entire music library so accessible. But sometimes I just feel like something is missing.

What do you guys think?

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6 thoughts on “A New World

  1. andriafontenot says:

    that was too long for me to read, but I do have a 5 foot poster of that beatles picture. haha
    i loveeeeeeeeeeeee the beatles

  2. James Wilder says:

    It used to be BIG NEWS when an artist came out with a new album in the 80’s – at least for us church kids. Leon Patillo was the baddest thing until Carmen! ha!

    With so much music being produced, I’m guilty of choosing 2-3 songs on an album and purchasing. If it’s a group I know that is solid, or that I’ve particuarly liked (for instance, Free Chapel or Israel) then I would get the entire album.

    Speaking of artists, there’s a new artist out with his own label. Coffey. Check him out. Cool stuff.

  3. ryanaustindean says:

    Ha…Carmen was my first-ever concert. I remember thinking that it was the pinnacle of my young life.

  4. Armando says:

    I remember the 8-track!

    The album cover was a significant part of my childhood and teen years. My friends and I would sit around and draw the covers.

    The one thing that I do like about the new digital distribution is that I can buy one or two songs that are positive off of an album that I wouldn’t listen to the other songs.

  5. Chasity says:

    So, I went to a CARMEN concert…2 years ago…. I have a hard time letting go….. I LOVE JESUS YES I DO! (obviously he does too, he still wears silk shirts…)

  6. Dude, me and Daniel Hereford were having a technology conversation like this a few days ago.

    If you think back to the first actual Hard Drives! They were like 4 MB! When a company would DOUBLE the size of that, the technophiles would mess their pants. Now we’ve gone from a 500GB USB device that can be taken anywhere and plugged into any computer, to a 1 TB (One Terrabyte = 1024 GB more or less) that’s the SAME SIZE… and no one could really care less.

    Why is it that our current advances in technology seem so trivial? What is going to be the next big breakthrough that will totally capture everyone’s attention. I thought it would be BlueRay, but most people wouldn’t know true HD if it sat in their lap and called ’em MaMa.

    How did we get to this point that our knowledge is so “normal” and advanced techonology is considered trivial.

    And to think…it all started with a wheel.

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