iPod, the new album - CDs going away? | iLounge News

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iPod, the new album - CDs going away?

“Looking on my iPod, there’s no physical barrier between Maxwell, Melvins, Messiaen, Metallica, Miles Davis, Mouse On Mars, and Mozart. They are peers. They’re all songs on a global album. This is promising—and weird. [...]

But so, this iPod. When I buy CDs, I immediately transfer them to the iPod and then shelve them, where they sit untouched. My vinyl is long gone. The album as a discrete unit containing 10 or so songs feels increasingly dated. I am entering a post-CD era in which one single disc (my iPod) holds thousands of songs—the new unit of measurement. [...]

The record album is going away. So are you. Don’t mourn yet. The rise of the phonograph in the 1900s meant that ordinary people who couldn’t afford a steamship voyage to visit the great opera houses of Europe could still be blown away by Enrico Caruso. Tapes of the Velvet Underground helped undermine a totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia. Great things are afoot in this new era, too.”

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Comments

1

I’ve noticed a lot of pretentious articles here on ipob lounge.  The iPod is a great device, I love mine, but its not ground breaking in any way.

The album experiance has added great value to the music world.  A lot of music is ment to be listened to as a unit, not as isolated tracks.

Posted by Jason on February 13, 2004 at 9:14 AM (PDT)

2

Agreed!!!  The iPod is probably less of a ground breaking device and more of a symptom of something bigger.  As a rabid Pink Floyd fan, I couldn’t agree with you more (about the album experience)....but I must also agree with Massey—the “art” that the industry is producing now is evolving much the same way our devices to reproduce that music have—it’s becoming more portable, more bite size, but less nourishing.  What?  the mp3 player is not the epitome of musical reproduction?  Just ask any devoted tube amp audiophile what he thinks about really listening to music on your iPod—he’d most likely cringe at the thought.

Let’s face it, music *is* changing.  Most of us would be hard pressed to honestly say we’re familiar with an entire album by a particularly famous pop artist these days unless we’re a true fan.  Sure, I might like “In da Club” as much as the next guy, but I couldn’t care less what other tracks happen to be categorized under that album title on my LCD screen.  I’m not really supposed to.

Back in the day, I remember saying “check out the new _______ album, it’s great.”  We’d bring albums/tapes/cd’s to a friend’s house, pop them in, and sit back to listen.  Now it’s “check out the new _________ track (period).”

The real beauty (and seemingly “ground breaking” nature) of the modern music device is that we (old fogey’s?) can choose *not* to shuffle our songs, but instead sit back, push a button and listen to anything we want out of our giant “album” collections we’ve loved for years while relaxing at home late at night or enduring that stopover flight to LA the next morning.

Let popular music lovers have their one-hit-wonder singles, but let’s also support those bands that are still making albums.

Posted by Breathe on February 13, 2004 at 10:23 AM (PDT)

3

Right - couldn’t agree more about albums as artistic units (although they are just as often, collections of singles).  this doesn’t make this article “pretentious” though, IMO.  Actually the gist seems to be more aobut the idea of Record Companies making music off of the sales of cd units which are now going away and ha ha! rather than the listening public treating albums like “artistic units”.  He doesn’t really adress the latter. Which, I thnk IS a problem.  I don’t particulalry care that Britney spears fans may not get the “artisitc gist of where she is at this momenet in history” - because she’s just pumping out product.  I care that we may have lost the idea of “Kind Of Blue”, “Blonde on Blonde” and “Sgt Peppers”  this is too bad for both the artistic albums of the past and future.

Posted by Daddo on February 13, 2004 at 10:29 AM (PDT)

4

That’s crap. At least with the transition from records to cassettes to CDs, you always had cover art and an actual physical piece of something in your hand. Maybe not everyone appreciates having something physical with pretty artwork attached to it, but for me this is all a part of the music experience.

Like I said in a previous comment, I think the only people who want the CD dead is the RIAA. More profits for them. If the CD does die, I hope they can replace it with something similar to album art.

Posted by narco in Burbank on February 13, 2004 at 11:39 AM (PDT)

5

Technology dictates the way we listen to music.

Prior to the phonograph, music was lengthy and arranged for orchestras to play.  Pieces could last from 20 minutes to an hour.

When the record started being produced, they could only fit a little over 3 minutes to a side…inventing the modern song format.  Slow jazz songs would be sped up to fit onto one side, songs would be written specifically to fit within the record format.

The LP comes along and allows for more time per side.  This was the birth of the concept album, albums put together of various songs centered around one theme.

CD’s killed the concept albums.  No more waiting through tracks, go to the exact track you want - anytime you want.  CD’s effectively became a holder for a couple singles and filler tracks.

The iPod, along with the mp3, opens a whole new world.  Who knows how recording artists will adapt to this new technology…but the pattern continues.

Posted by Art & Technology on February 13, 2004 at 12:13 PM (PDT)

6

That’s a good way to put it—never thought of it like that.

Posted by narco in Burbank on February 13, 2004 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

7

i know this isnt the same thing, but the same thing happened with sports in our country as media progressed. the technology of our media dictated what sports were popular. back in the day, everyone followed baseball. it was a game almost designed specifically for radio. relatively slow moving game with room for lots of commentary. then with tv and video, faster paced, more busy games become popular like basketall and especially football. only in recent years has hockey been on tv at all. thats because they now add a CGI colored motion streak to the puck so that tv viewers can even follow the action. technology always has a say in the direction our society moves.

Posted by Engagebot in LSU - Baton Rouge, LA on February 13, 2004 at 10:29 PM (PDT)

8

So, I was at this conference on music, technology and copyright. Musician (ex Undertones front man) Fergal Sharkey was there. He said a lot, but here’s three nuggets:
1/ The history of music - music sales always explode after technological change - from music scores to 78s, 78s to radio, 78s to LPs, LPs to cassetteS then cds, radio to tv, today -
2/ Commercial radio today is chasing one specific audience - teenage girls. As such other musical genres will find it increasingly difficult to get to market, regardless of distribution used.
3/ Complacency and unwillingness to embrace change by the music industry will not be seen as an excuse for failure.

Posted by Jonny Rocket on February 14, 2004 at 2:19 AM (PDT)

9

I don’t doubt the sincerity of some of your posts about cover art, and themed albums, and the like.  But as someone who has lived through the days of 45s, LPs, CDs, and now MP3s I have to say that, as I remember it, the vast majority of the LPs and CDs were just two songs and a bunch of filler crap, too.  We took out albums over to friends’ houses and listened to the whole things because we had just spent $8 or $10 bucks on those pieces of crap, and we really had no choice but to sit there on the bed or the floor, listening to the music in one place.

Now, the MP3 player, and stores such as ITMS give me the power to only pay for those two songs that are worth paying my money for. And I can take them with me and listen to them wherever and whenever I want.

Among the many other benefits, this may force artists who don’t want to get 10 or 12 percent of 99 cents or a $1.98 to actually put together whole, decent albums.

Anyone who doesn’t think that the proliferation of devices such as the iPod and services such as the ITMS are breakthrough, watershed events probably would have thought that the invention of automobile was just a blip on the radar screen.

If you don’t think it’s big, just look around your screen right now. A whole web site dedicated to a SINGLE MP3 player, with links to tens of dozens of more sites throughout it.  Do a Google search for iPod.  And why are you here, reading this right now?

Posted by rdlink in Denver on February 14, 2004 at 4:51 AM (PDT)

10

BTW: I can’t see myself ever buying another pre-recorded CD again.

Posted by rdlink in Denver on February 14, 2004 at 4:53 AM (PDT)

11

Like a previous poster, I too remember 45’s (walking to the TSS - Time Square Store, by my house and looking through the 45 racks), still have albums (but nothing set up to play them) and for the last 17 years CD’s.  Some albums/CDs have many tracks I like, others only one or two and some I bought for 1 or 2 and ended up enjoying several.  The MP3 format allows for a lot more flexability and gives you a chance to listen to a snippet of songs (at the very least) before you buy.  I still tend to buy in the album format (force of habit?) One advantage of the album format is sometimes songs you don’t like initially grow on you and become your favorites.

Posted by Wendy on February 14, 2004 at 8:12 AM (PDT)

12

Of course, there is still nothing wrong with vinyl. I have encoded many LPs, 45s, and 78s to digital, but it is fun using the original media. 78s aren’t totally dead either…once in a while someone will come out with one as a novelty. Joe “King” Carrasco came out with some in the late 80s, I have a promo 78 RPM 10 incher from Leon Redbone that has magnificent quality sound, etc…

Inevitably, all formats give way to others. Someday, all the music you have on CDs may be unplayable on any equipment being sold at that time.

Posted by Ron Evry on February 14, 2004 at 3:58 PM (PDT)

13

I own 1000 cds - I would say I enjoy every track on about 900 of them.  I gotta disagree about cd’s being one good song and filler.  perhaps you’r enot listening to good artists, eh?

Posted by Daddo on February 15, 2004 at 2:15 PM (PDT)

14

i doubt i’ll ever buy a cd again, though you never know.  if i ever get cd’s as gifts, they almost right away go on my iPod anyway, so there’s not much point.

Posted by kespodder in BG, OH on March 2, 2004 at 2:30 PM (PDT)

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