Music To My Ears

29 09 2010

I am a musicophile. Always have been. Always will. More times than not, I have an earworm crawling around inside my head singing at the top of its lungs. Hey, it soothes this savage beast.

I still have my first 45 R.P.M. record, which was Paul McCartney singing Uncle Albert (1971). I went on to buy a couple hundred more 45s before graduating to full-length LPs and later CDs. There are roughly 600 of those occupying various shelves and cabinets in the home studios of KNIK, along with over 1500 CDs.

OK, maybe I am also a hoarder. Just don’t call A&E, because I don’t want to be on that show.

A couple of years ago, my students started making fun of me because I was still buying CDs. Yeah, Mr. On Top Of Things was wearing a Luddite tattoo. Music fan writ large? Yep. Techno-forward? Not so much.

Surprisingly, I had owned an iPod since 2005, yet all I ever did was rip my own CDs.

But at the urging of my students, I decided to go on a CD fast. In the 29 months that have passed, I have only purchased one CD (the re-release of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street), and purchased about 100 individual songs at iTunes. My wallet is happy. I am happy. And my music collection is no longer taking over the house.

There is still one commonality of all that music. I own it. Whether it is on vinyl, on a CD, or stored digitally on my phone and computer, it is mine. All mine. Not yours.

But the music industry is evolving faster than a 78 R.P.M. record. Ownership is out; listenership is in. As in subscription listening. Who needs to have property rights to their music when you can pay a small fee to listen to whatever you please?

Which is why I am growing increasingly enamored of services offered by Rhapsody, Rdio and Mog. For about $10 a month, I can listen to an unlimited amount of music on my computer. On my phone. Wherever I am.

And to think I was in the process of becoming a big Pandora fan. Sure, semi-custom free stations are pretty cool (and allow you the pleasure of discovering new artists you’ve never heard before). But what about all those other times when you want to be the DJ? Yes, dear, now there’s an app for that.

And why continue to pay iTunes $1.29 every time I am compelled to buy a song?

If you are thinking like me, subscription listening could be an iTunes killer. While Apple is busy gloating over the fact that iTunes’ sales are about to pass those of tangible CDs, they had better be looking over their shoulder at listening sites. Rhapsody, et al are going to do to music what Netflix has done to movies. The customer is in charge, and they get the what/when/where for one low price.

We’re so sorry, Steven Jobs. We’ so sorry if we caused you any pain. But the kettle’s on the boil and we’re so easily called away.

Anyone want to buy a bunch of old CDs and records?

Dr “In The Groove” Gerlich

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