Music Mondays - We've come full circle

A little bit of a history lesson for you all:

Way back in the 1960s, if you wanted to listen to music at home, you bought everything in the form of records.  They weren't particularly cheap, but it was the only option available.  Sure, they took up a lot of space, had only about twenty minutes of music per side (meaning you'd have to flip the record every couple of songs), and, quite often, more attention was paid to the album artwork than the actual content... but what else could you do?

The eight track tapes came out in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and were a breakthrough.  You could now listen to music in your car!  They were clunky, of course, and the sound quality was worse than a record, but the convenience!  Oh, the convenience!  Plus, if someone tried to break into your car, you could hit them with one of your tapes, causing a subdural haemotoma. 

Cassettes were a marked improvement - better sound quality, more space for music, less flip time.  Plus, they were cheaper to make.  And every car had a cassette player come standard in the eighties.... which is probably why the 80s were all about high energy "Driving Music" - hair metal and new wave and whatnot.  Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities were high in the 1980s.  I blame Flock of Seagulls. 

CDs came out in the late 1970s, but only saw widespread use in the late 80s/early 90s.  And they revolutionized everything:  high sound quality, none of that useless "flipping the record" jazz, and you could program in your favourite tracks.  They also doubled as a frisbee, in a pinch. 

The mp3 revolution further expanded on this (though audiophiles will tell you the sound quality of mp3s is fairly low).  They were cheap (in fact, they can be as cheap as.... free!), they took up absolutely no physical space, and were infinitely convenient.   

And now?  Now, people like me complain because mp3s have no album artwork.  They take up no space, except on your hard drive, and so feel empty.  They are not "albums" but rather a collection of singles.  And you can listen to them anywhere, making the idea of "listening to music" as an activity in and of itself a thing of the past.

So, what do we do?

We buy records. 

We've come full circle. 

No comments:

Post a Comment