Monday, February 14, 2005

I remember visiting a friend’s cousin’s place when I was growing up. He was a record distributor for the music publishers. He would drive to the small towns of Manitoba and drop off records to be sold in the hardware stores and specialty shops. We went to his basement and the place was typical of prairie suburbs, with that 1970’s orangey brown carpet and lined with crates. They were turn on their sides so that you could see the edges of the vinyl records.

There were hundreds, possibly thousands of records in that basement. It was time when you bought a record to be able to hear that song whenever. Cheap re-issues were not prevalent and “Best Of Albums” were only put out by bands that had a solid career not only a single LP.

I think back on that time and it seems both magical and other-worldly. To be in a time where music is heard only by those who own a particular piece of plastic seems very strange. The music held a greater significance, but that position came at a cost.

It amazes me that music seems almost disposable in this current age. That people will purchase music online then delete it when the next single comes along seems strange to me.

If the cost of this new access to media is to diminish it to a recycle bin, then maybe it is too high a price to pay. I still think back to that time when each album was held by the edges and in esteem. Hearing something from a rare recording was like vintage wine. Only to be enjoyed by a few.

Maybe the new access to music has opened up a world that was unobtainable before, but it has come at a cost. These will have to be tallied before we know if it is too high a price to pay.

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