Sunday, February 01, 2009

The revolution will be digitized...

Brand new CD's for $5? Am I hearing this correctly? In the modern age of digital downloads (legally paid or otherwise), less and less love is extended to the physical Compact Disc form that I grew to love so much in the early 90's. So, in light of this, many record stores are beginning to close, including (but not limited to) Virgin Records in Times Square.

Now, I own over 500 CD's (without counting CD-Rs, etc) and over the past 15+ years I've considered myself a collector of sorts. I love buying a record, opening it, reading the liner notes and then reviewing the lyrics along with my first or second listen. I can probably count on one hand the people I know that take pleasure in that kind of thing.

Anyways, I walk into Virgin Records the other day and find this great sale. Not all records went for $5, but some really good ones did. A lot of them were records I should have bought long before but because I had a few songs on a CD-R or on my iPod (or even on a cassette!), I never got around to it. I would've bought 20 albums but I had to watch my budget so I just got a few: "Grace" Jeff Buckley, "Chelsea Girl" Nico, "A Love Supreme" John Coltrane, "Machine Head" Deep Purple and "Aha Shake Heartbreak" Kings of Leon. I also bought High on Fire's "Live from the Relapse Contamination Festival" at full price because it was recently reissued.

Frontrunners for the 5 dollar "take me home" price were "Daydream Nation" Sonic Youth, "The Best of" Roxy Music, a few Bob Dylan albums, "Sketches of Spain" Miles Davis and "Magic" by Bruce Springsteen. I just couldn't afford them, which seems to be the main reason why CD sales keep dropping more year after year. Less importance is placed in acquiring the physical format than on downloading the digital and saving some money. I can totally understand and respect that, especially considering the current state of the economy. Shit, I even do it myself on occasion; and of course, there are very positive aspects to the fact that music is so accessible to anyone at any time nowadays. I won't mention them here - they're pretty obvious.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that regardless of the method you use to acquire music, the important thing is to always carry a thirst for new sounds and to do some exploring of your own instead of depending entirely on what the mass media feeds you. Excuse me for getting a little romantic there...

Before I left New York, I went to a Cuban restaurant/bar in Manhattan. Sometime after midnight, we decided to leave. Outside it was about 15 degrees F. As we neared the door, I could feel the cold from outside already. It gave me the feeling of slowly stepping into something unknown but undeniably imminent; kind of like the slow but imminent demise of the Compact Disc form, which appears to be upon us - whether we like it or not - more and more with each passing day.

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