Republish from the old articles section.
This is a little story about how digital music has changed my life.
After getting a few new albums this holiday season, I began to realize that proliferation of digital music has really changed they way I listen to music. New CD’s in particular. A prime example of this is the CD I got a few days ago. I’ve listened to it on my way to work twice, and at work once. In the past this new CD would have made it into the rotation in my car or home stereo, if good enough, maybe even taken the trip to the CD player at work. Now a days the first step after unwrapping is dropping it into the CD drive of my trusty pc, and firing up Exact Audio Copy. It is then added to ‘the collection’. Having such a collection of music readily at my finger tips and the indecisive person that I am, (I love variety), I put everything on shuffle. In listening to this new album it Iâve realized Iâve completely changed my music listening habits since mp3âs and the evolution of digital music. It started around 97 when I worked in a lab with a bunch of geeks. We shared a work station, and therefore shared our music. At first it was just CD’s we brought in, but it turned into mp3’s when we learned about them. Some we brought, and before it was frowned upon, we downloaded music we each liked. We had a smattering of this and that from pearl jam, dropkick murphys, to mustard plug, and creed, basically everything under the sun. When one of us would get a new CD, and that would be added to the collection. This is where the change lies.
The difference is was nothing was ever removed from the list. We didn’t have to decide to pull out Haughty Melodic, or doolittle from the existing rotation. Which I have to admit would be a tough call. We were adding without subtracting. I didn’t have to contemplate which of the current rotation would get demoted to back up, which would get removed from the car entirely and put on the shelf? Basically We had a started with a pool of a few CDs, and now it had grown leaps and bounds. We now had hundreds of songs on shuffle. As the popularity of mp3’s rose, it wasn’t just a computer thing anymore. However, digital music still hadn’t taken over my music life. I mean, I still had to decided what to listen to in my car, and at home. That was until I got an audiotron about 2 years ago. With this super cool digital music player I had all these mp3âs that I could listen to in the living room. The addition of a mp3 player in my car added yet another dimension to this. No longer was I tied to a single CD player. So now the pool goes from a few CDs, to my CD collection + the world of streaming music. So, what’s the big deal? What’s the impact?
Instead of being a CD on play, it became a collection on shuffle. No longer did the CD get the spot light to develop, to evolve into something more than one song at a time. You’d think that access to all this music would be a great thing for me, and a great impact on my love of music. It may have pushed me away from what I really love about music. Making a bond with it. I havenât been able to grow the attachment to the music I had. Going from 6 cd’s on rotation, I had to be very selective what I kept in the player. What I listened to, what remained in the rotation got a lot of play, and it was a portion of my life. I remember as a high schooler driving to school listening to House of Pain, or Spin Doctors , too many times to remember. Learning even the bad songs on the album by heart. Understanding the feeling the album was meant to give you, riding the ebbs and flows of the sound waves.
I miss that. I miss knowing music by heart, names of songs, and the b-sides. I think Iâm going to change this. Starting this morning by listening to that new album again, and again. Until I either appreciate it or hate it, and it will eventually get rotated out, in a few weeks or months, by then I’ll know what I’ve got, and what I like, or don’t like about it.