Who are the true believers?

True or false: In order to really like music, search you still have to buy the physical product.

Are the CD hangers-on, buy vinyl collectors, and cassette fetishists the last people in love with music? Can people who have gone purely digital still care?

14 thoughts on “Who are the true believers?”

  1. In order to really like music one must find it easy to cast aside all of these manifestations and shake. your. booty.

    I have a deeper problem, moving further into the digital world to singularity. shake. your. moneymaker.

  2. I’ll answer your questions with two more questions:

    1. Do non-technophobes still intentionally buy CDs?

    2. Should we split “people who have gone purely digital” into people who buy downloads and people who only use streaming services?

    1. I still buy CDs, though not nearly as often as before. I refuse to pay for lossy compressed music, and lossless isn’t available for all/many releases. Plus, as with the vinyl -> CD transition, I’m sure there will be stuff that’s never going to be (legally) available online.

      Also, sometimes you can get CDs pretty cheap nowadays, especially if you’re willing to dig through the bargain bins and so forth. Sadly I’ve bought a ton of stuff when it was on sale for a $1/CD at record stores going out of business.

      Also there’s the whole thing of serendipity when looking through the stacks, finding something you might not otherwise check out. Back in the day, I used to bike over to Sound Exchange and sometimes would buy things based on the album art alone.

      I do kind of get an ill feeling buying them though; like where the hell am I going to put this object, since I already have over 2,000 of them.

      1. I have bought the occasional CD when it’s on super-sale at Target (e.g., most recent discs from Kanye West, Arcade Fire for $7.99 each, both of which I listened to a ton). But it’s pretty rare.

        I just pay Rdio $9.99 per month, and I get all the music I want. Including music downloaded to my phone, no internet connect needed. It’s unlimited. I’ve never liked something so much.

        Sometimes I think I’d love to be vinyl-guy. But the expense and legwork are immediate obstacles. It doesn’t mean I don’t listen to music. I listen to TONS of music. A more diverse spectrum of it than I ever have. And it’s not just background music. I still find 15 or so records a year I really get into and remember and love, just like when I was a kid.

        But I’m not spending nearly what I used to spend on music. So does vinyl guy love music more than me? Or vinyl guy loving something else?

        The one big advantage vinyl has over Spotify and Rdio isn’t sound quality (I seriously can’t tell the difference), it’s revenue. As in, the artists make much less from having me as a fan vs. having random vinyl guy as a fan. I wish I could say this really meant something to me. But I’m not sure it does.

        It just gnaws at me in the back of my mind. Do I love this thing that I love enough? Maybe not. But I’m not going back to the old days, where I had to keep making more and more space for music. When I can fit thousands of songs on my phone, that just doesn’t make any sense.

        1. My impression is that the vast majority of artists who print vinyl don’t make much from it. It’s expensive to produce and REALLY expensive to ship. In order to do well, you have to be the type of artist that is liked by people to whom price is not an object but who have the time and inclination to deal with vinyl records. There just aren’t that many of those people out there.

      2. Philosophical question for you, Ghost: does converting digital music to an analog medium (or the reverse!) count as “loss?” It is non-reversible, after all.

        1. It’s best to minimize the number of digital/analog conversions, but the fidelity loss of that isn’t anywhere on the order of compressing audio in a lossy fashion, where at minimum you’ll have a nonexistent or severely attenuated extreme high end, plus added noise. It’s fine for listening in a car or on the go, but not for serious listening. It bums me out that mp3/aac has become such a standard thing now.

          Another problem with iPods taking over everything is that fewer people have decent home stereos now, and some people listen to music exclusively on shitty ass laptop speakers. It’s no wonder the loudness wars thrive in such an environment.

  3. Why would you think this in the first place? Is the stuff that comes into your ears called “music”? Do you enjoy it? I don’t understand.

  4. First, I think there is something to be said for vinyl. The look, feel, and sound are just unmatched. But that may be because I grew up with them and there is something about the tactile experience of it that an MP3 can’t match. I can’t listen to an MP3 and look at the liner notes or album cover while I’m listening to it for example.

    Perhaps you are looking at it all worng because I’ve never considered the vinyl listener more of a music lover than anyone else but I do think the average LP buyer is more *committed* than the digital downloader simplybecasue those people DO do the extra footwork involved in gathering those artifacts. In the end though, would a vinyl collector love say the new Heartless Bastards album any less than a digital downloader? I don’t think so.

    That said, the record collection pretty much went to my Ex as did the turntables and since I am in an apartment it’s much easier to simply buy and store music on my Mac and stream it to my PS3 to the living room or wherever I want in the house. Hell, the vinyl I have left can easily fit in a small crate and I have no means of listening to it if I wanted to. So, my appreciation of vinyl is more idea than reality.

    Still, I can’t help but feel there is a certain devaluing of music and other creative endeavors because of the ready access to the internet. The drive for everything to be cheap to free reflects the value people place on the art and the effort put forth by the artits. I’d argue that the person who snags a pirated copy of an album – not because it’s unavaiable, hard to find, or overpriced but because they simply don’t want to pay for it – are the people deserving the most ridicule in how they obtain music.

    PS Cds suck. Always have. Always will.

  5. I’m just not sure how or why people continue to conflate music with the medium of its conveyance. The two really have little to do with one another.

  6. Funny: yesterday I bought the vinyl reissue of Mclusky’s MCLUSKY DO DALLAS, easily my favorite album that I have not only a. never owned on a physical medium before but b. have never heard in the correct track order before, thanks to some weirdly mis-tagged MP3 version that I had where everything was mixed up. Was shocked to learn that Alan Is A Cowboy Killer was the last song. Point being, it’s a record that’s meant a hell of a lot to me despite never enjoying it the way it was meant to be enjoyed or owning it in a physical medium before.

    I have gone through a bit of a vinyl resurgence in the last eighteen months since being reunited with my record collection. I’m not sure it’s a good thing. It’s expensive and cumbersome. But I also have albums that I’ve bought digitally that I’ve literally forgotten I’ve bought. At least with physical media, it’s there, reminding you of it, and you have more of a commitment, in a way.

    But as to the premise: obviously false.

  7. In elementary school, a friend and I once asked this girl “who do you love more, me or him?” she said, “I dont know, which one of you loves ME more?”. My friend said “i love you more cause I love everything about you, even photographs and drawings of you, and I love your shoes and your socks, and I love holding hands and will always carry your books.” I said, “I love you more cause I love everything about you, I even love the stuff I dont like about you, like your squeaky voice and the way you are kind of shallow, and i will throw your books in the garbage so we dont have to carry them, and screw holding hands, i want to make out.” She slapped us both, and took off with a guy that was sitting over there playing some really really bad version of Stairway to Heaven on a two dollar guitar. Moral? fuck if i know, but i went and bought strings for the beatup guitar my uncle had given me.

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