Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CD Is The New Vinyl...

...or so I heard on an episode of Cupid last night. I have to agree with this statement just like I agree with the belief of Huey Lewis that "the heart of rock and roll is still beating." While MP3 is winning the hearts of many audiophiles, the true value to it all comes down to one question.

What does a MP3 look like?
That question alone sums up the sole reason I still prefer going out to get my musical fix. This is not to say I haven't embraced the technology. I think it's a great technology. It's music whenever you want it and fast to obtain. It's cheaper than buying a physical copy and there's no need to organize them along a wall. If you are tired (embarassed) of a purchase, delete it and when you miss that Lady GaGa album you spent 8-9 bucks on , re-download it. Best of all, the players are the best portable musical devices ever made for all of the reasons above and more. MP3's are definitely outselling CD's in the way that they outsold vinyl and cassettes outsold 8-tracks.

Still, the lack of a face to the body is why I'm not solely buying MP3. I, like many music obsessed people in the world, like collections. I like box sets with multiple discs and amazing packaging and the feeling of waiting for a new album to come out and rushing out that morning just to pick up the limited edition version just for a video of the album's recording session or a bonus disc of tracks exclusive to that store. I love the small pages of inked filled liner notes, photos, production credits and lyrics as well as reading the "thank you" section and spotting all of the musicians and bands thanked for their support.

Everything about purchasing a new record in a store is like building up to a new movie release. You may have heard the album's first single (the trailer) and that provided you with enough reason to go to the store and buy the album. You get there and see its shrinkwrapped body and the cover (the poster) before grabbing a copy and taking it to the register to purchase it (the ticket). Then, you listen to it (the movie) and look over the artwork and notes (the credits). At the end of it, you'll either enjoy it or hate it but the experience is worth it.

Then there's the collection factor. I, like many others, have towers upon towers of music leaning against my walls in both my bedroom and closet. I've started shelving my LP's and 7"'s and have cases of cassettes under of my bed of Bowie and Sabbath. This is a love and it is an art that MP3's miss out on. There's something amazing about having a colection and knowing that some of those items are promotional, limited edition or out of print. Granted, MP3 has given some of these records a new life and that is definitely a great thing but I can't have the pleasure of having limited pressings of 7" Less Than Jake singles if they are only on MP3.

This is not an anti-MP3 rant. It's far from it. I love what they offer the listener and the immediacy of the music to your ears. Still, it lacks all the other elements that make purchasing a new album so great. Still, the cost and accessability of getting an album online helps MP3 win the battle and, perhaps, the battle. This isn't to say that CD's are going away any time soon. It'll be another few years before the format fades from most store shelves only to become cool again...just like vinyl.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad my technological disadvantaged coworker could provide you with the question of "what does an mp3 look like?"