Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Download or Not To Download

That is the question … do you download music? Or do you buy music on soon-to-be-old-fashioned CDs?

Here are some more deeply personal questions: do you own cassettes? And a cassette player? Eight-track tapes? Records? Something to play them on?

For me, the answer is “all of the above except eight-track tape,” but Compact Discs are the media that contain most of my music collection. CDs have been around since the mid 1980s and it seemed like they would never go away. But downloading music is rapidly taking over and I have to admit that I now buy music this way about twenty percent of the time.

I heard a new Bon Jovi song on the radio tonight and wanted to buy it. Music stores are closed, Wal-Mart was the other direction from where I was going and I only wanted that one song. I got home, tapped a few keys and I’m listening to it right now as I write this. iTunes tagging makes this even easier; on certain types of radios, you hit a button when you want to buy the song you’re listening to and the song is there next time you sync. I don’t have that kind of radio yet, but I’m sure I will one day.

Downloading is not new but for Boomer-aged people this probably is still not the norm. I’ve been shopping on line for years, but I only downloaded music for the first time six months ago. And I ultimately burn those songs to CDs for use on my commute. I have an iPod but not a direct connection to my car’s sound system, so CDs are still the only way to hear my own music on the ride home each day.

The thing that amuses me most about this is the cycle of patterns. In the early Boomer era, the most popular songs were sold one at a time as singles. In rock, the album took hold for a couple of decades; music enthusiasts wanted to hear all the songs, not just the ones on the radio. The cycle is trending back to single songs again and downloading makes it easy. You can download an entire album, but I bet you’re more inclined to pick just the individual songs you want. In my case, if I want the whole album, I just order the CD.

I embrace technology but I am not an early adopter. I have yet to download a book or a movie, but I’m sure I will some day. This year? Maybe.

What’s your take on this?

2 comments:

elizinashe said...

I'm way behind in the tech world. Don't have an iPod. I know once I do go the instant download route I will end up spending more than enough money buying stuff that I really don't need. haha..

Bernie said...

If I'm not careful, downloading will become as addictive for me as coffee and facebook. :)