This morning, on my way to school, I realized that I already memorize the songs on my playlist by order – all 113 of them! I think I’ve been listening to the same playlist for the past 3 months, haha! No shit right?! This can only mean one thing: it’s time to download new tracks and make a new playlist. Now, after less than 15 minutes since I started doing just that, I already have 52 new songs (and counting). Thank God for the Internet and MP3s!
The move to digital has, indeed, carried with it an evolution in music, causing us to embrace new technologies and leave old ones behind. Back in the 90s, Walkmans and Discmans were the must-have gadgets. I would save my allowance when I was in grade school just to be able to buy cassettes and CDs of my favorite artists. A cassette then in Tower Records or Odyssey was worth P150-250, while a CD ranged from around P350-600. Man, I can’t believe I spent that much for CDs of the Backstreet Boys (yes, I was a fan haha)…crazy!
Then came the invention that changed the rest of music history – the MP3. It spelled nightmare for the music industry, but for the rest of the world, it was pure genius. I used Napster back then and I could still vividly recall how excited I was while downloading my first ever MP3. Napster undoubtedly started the fire of mass digital music distribution. Despite its brief existence, it appears to have shaped the digital music landscape more than anything else. Its impact is still felt in the form of other file-sharing applications that took inspiration from it (e.g. Kazaa, Morpheus, BearShare, and Limewire), to push-to-sell MP3 programs such as the highly successful iTunes.
Ease of use, practicality and affordability are just some of the factors that have made digital music very appealing. People no longer have to buy an entire album just for 1 or 2 songs they like. Gone are the days of keeping racks and racks of tapes and CDs. Now, music can be stored in computers, played from there, burned to CDs, or transferred to MP3 players. It’s like being able to make your very own radio station!
The music industry claims that digital music is killing it mainly by means of piracy. I must agree that piracy is terrible. However, I also believe that it is one of the main reasons why music is as big as it is today. True, digital music has cannibalized sales of physical records, but the industry should realize that it has opened the door to other opportunities as well. Music companies can now focus on selling singles rather than albums, thus increasing digital sales. Artists, on the other hand, can now share their music with the world for the cost of an Internet connection.
The trend towards digital is clearer than ever. Digital music is here to stay! The best thing to do is to adapt and make the most out of it (see, that’s exactly what I’m doing). Now back to my downloads…^_^