The last time I flew cross country, which was a couple of months ago, I got up from row 11 and walked to the back of the plane to use the facilities. As I made my way back, I noticed the two people sitting behind me were reading books. I would say that 60% of the people I saw were reading either a book or a magazine. I saw only 2 people with an E reader.
Weren’t they the hottest things on the market not that long ago? After the initial cost, aren’t digital books cheaper? How many of the book readers on the plane also own a Nook? If you ask someone why they would choose a book over a Kindle, the answer you will get most often is that the person loves the feel of the book in their hands being able to turn the page. By the way, the last person to give me that exact same answer is an 18 year old.
I feel the same way about music. While I totally get the convenience of being able to download a song immediately and being able to save space in the house, without all the CD’s or records. It’s just not the same if I don’t have something tangible in my hands.
When LP’s were king, not only did you get the record with music, you also got a piece of artwork with the cover. You’d get the album home, slit open the shrink wrap and pull the vinyl out. It was even cooler if the sleeve had pictures or writing on it. Hold the record on the edge and gingerly place it on the turntable. Drop the needle on and position yourself wherever you liked to hear new music. The choice was yours, whether it was putting on the big Princess Leia headphones on the couch or your bed, in a chair with the speakers pointing right at you or laying on the shag carpet with speakers on either side of your head. (My personal favorite)
This was multi-tasking at its best. You could listen to music; look at pictures of the band. Read the liner notes or read the lyrics to the songs you were listening to. I may not have known the 20 vocabulary word definitions I needed to memorize that week for school, but after two or three listens, I knew all the words to the Journey Escape album.
When vinyl was faded out and CDs were ushered in, the listening process changed too. You still had the artwork, the lyrics, and the liner notes just in a smaller package. In the beginning CDs were listened to at home in much the same way as albums. Then came the invention of the car CD player. From that point on most new music was played in the car.
You used to make time for a new release from your favorite artist. To take in the whole package to listen, read and learn. Once you could take the disc out of the bag, opened that infernal plastic and pop it in your car, it officially became background noise.
Now, you can download a song or an album and hear it on your phone or computer. Super easy, but no experience. If Jimi Hendrix was a new artist these days would his band name be, the Jimi Hendrix Convenience?
Can music be able to do what books are doing? A paperback revolution if you will.
Records are making a comeback, 180 gram vinyl. Which for someone like me is awesome. Except that one record is 30 bucks! Ug!! Will the music business ever learn?