According to a story on NPR this morning, the medium through which we listen to music changes about every 20-30 years. It does so largely because corporations want to sell us a new (and hugely profitable) piece of hardware on which to play the new medium for the music. So Edison’s cylinders were replaced by Victor’s 78 RPM shellac discs which were replaced by 33 1/3 rpm vinyl discs which were replaced by Sony’s compact discs which were replaced by Apple’s MP 3’s.
And every change was adopted by customers more interested in convenience than the sound.
Though I have been an enthusiastic adopter of many technologies, I realize that I will probably not live long enough to fully use the next new innovation. I have reached my final stage of music consumption. I buy CD’s from bands I know and love–rip those to my ipod. I use the free subscription service Spotify or You Tube to listen to unfamiliar music and determine whether I will purchase them. As I get older, I will probably buy less music and rely more on the subscription services.
But why continue to buy CD’s? Because of the thrill I still get from the kind of haul I picked up recently at Soundgarden:
the new albums from Green Day, Patterson Hood, Ben Folds Five, Ry Cooder, Gaslight Anthem and Alabama Shakes.