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Buying Songs Not The Same
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I donít really jump on new technology all that quickly. I had my computer for two months before I realized I could burn CDs on it. I donít have an MP3 player. I do have a digital camera, but itís a rather low-tech one. I finally got a digital camcorder a few weeks ago. Iím fascinated by how it and Windows Movie Maker works. So Iíve been playing with that.
Iíve also been playing with ripping files from various CDs and plan to make a mix CD soon. Iíve been checking CDs out of the library and looking for different songs that I want. I feel a pang of guilt when I do this, but I canít help but think itís the record industryís fault.
When I was little, I bought 45 r.p.m. singles. Or rather, I guess it was my parents who bought them for me. It was simple: if you heard a song on the radio, you could find it in the store. The exception to that rule was the barking dogs version of ďJingle Bells.Ē The year that came out, it just wasnít to be had. I think I eventually got a copy of it, but it was years later when I did.
My point is, music was available to buy. Then, as technology changed, so did my buying options. The 45 singles morphed into ďcassingles,Ē but not every song was available in this format. Then the ďcassinglesĒ turned into CD singles. Only if a song was hugely popular could you find it. Then, the record industry did away with those and figured out it could make gobs of money if they forced consumers to buy a $15 CD if they just wanted one song.
Then Napster came along and changed everything.
I still enjoy buying CDs, but understandably, I check to see whatís on it in order to get the most for my money. Years ago, when I published a Ďzine, I reviewed CDs and divided the price by the number of songs that I liked. So, for example, if a CD cost $15, and I only liked one song, it got an entertainment value of 15ónot good at all. In this case, the lower the number, the better. Having been stung on CDs where I only liked one song, I backed off on buying them. As a result, I donít have very many CDs by new artists. I discover new music if itís being played in a commercial. I found Jamie Lidellís ďA Little Bit MoreĒ on a Target commercial. I liked the rap beat and his soulful voice. The album overall is pretty good, itís certainly not bland, but ďA Little Bit MoreĒ is my favorite track and the only one Iíve ripped.
I guess you could say that iTunes is the current way to buy singles, but as technology improves, we seem to become more isolated. You donít need trips to the record store, just pop online and buy it. Itís a far cry from flipping through the bins, checking out the bulletin boards and finding the free newspapers near the door. You lose the sense of atmosphere. The thrill of the hunt is reduced to search engines and clicking on the ďbuy it now!Ē icon. Technology can and has made our lives better, but ironically, it makes me long for the good old days, when buying a 45 r.p.m. single of my current favorite Top 40 made me eager to get home and listen to it. After all, a song purchased online doesnít come with a cool sleeve or the smell of a record store.