The pros and cons of the digital age of music

The digital age has almost completely changed the way we collect & manage our music. You may still buy CD‘s or Vinyl, but it seems that now almost everyone has an electronic copy on their computer. Some people have ditched buying physical copies of music entirely, others have never known anything than downloads from the internet.

It’s also brought a seemingly endless choice of music right at our fingertips. We no longer have to rely on the radio or TV to tell us about new music, we now have the internet. As well as providing somewhere to download music from, it’s also an information highway filled with almost anything you’d like to know about an artist, album or song.

It’s also brought a huge sense of convenience. You no longer have to find your nearest CD shop to buy new music. You can now download an album within minutes and have it on your iPod before you know it. Speaking of iPod’s, you can now store thousands of albums within a small device and carry around most of/all of your music collection with you to listen to whenever you want (another wonder of the digital age).

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But, with change brings skepticism. It’s not exactly unwarranted either. The digital age has brought some changes to music which some aren’t entirely comfortable with. I guess the main one is the whole experience of buying something physical. With CD’s & Vinyl’s you could really appreciate the “package”. Of course, the music is the main thing, but there’s the artwork, the lyrics booklet & the actual feeling of going into a shop and “browsing” for something you like. The touch, the smell, it all seems more “human” than a digital download is. You maybe appreciate it more as well, cause you’ve gone to more effort to get it as well as been something physical to hold.

So, where do I stand? Well, I think the choice & convenience we now have in the digital age outweighs most of the negatives. But, there’s still huge value in listening to albums and I think it’s always nice to have a physical copy of an album (especially one that you really connected with). In an ideal world you would have physical copies of the stuff you love, with the stuff you maybe just like as a digital download. I think it’s a shame that the high street has been affected, but until CD shops somehow modernise themselves to work alongside the digital age, they will continue to struggle.

Were do you stand on this? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts and I hope this article has got you thinking.

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4 Responses to The pros and cons of the digital age of music

  1. Liking this. I agree about having a hard copy of a favourite album can be important. My copies of White Pony and Lateralus are prized possessions of mine. I realised how my collection was primarily downloaded material and mp3 files copied from albums when I lost it all in 2010. I was about to start over with copying all of my albums and downloading albums all over again when I managed to get 90% of my music back. I think it’s all about pricing with albums for me these days. If they were a fair price, I’d probably buy a lot more than I download just to have my own copy I can see and hold in my hands. I have a few hundred albums and grab more every six months or so. I rarely buy new releases until after the hype has gone down (depending on the artist). I love CDs and the booklets that come with them make the purchase important to me.

    • I must admit in recent times I’ve moved away from CD’s to having most of my music digital. I think it’s because I consume more music than ever, and it’s just so convenient. I set up playlists for what I’m going to mostly listen to in the next 7 days and I’m not organised enough to order the CD’s far enough in advance.

      Completely agree about pricing, I think a lot of people would buy more CD’s if they were priced a lot better. You still get the nice package and can rip it to your computer.

      In the near future I’m looking to invest in some more vinyl and a record player. I’m going to stick to what I know at first & buy stuff I really love. But, in future I may well invest in newer stuff that I really fancy. Some of the newer stuff has download links, which would help greatly. That way I get a really nice package, as well as the ability to continue building my digital library. if I so wish.

  2. Whitey says:

    As for myself. I seem to run on a “try before you buy” policy when it comes to digital music. I like to listen to the artist on youtube or download it. If I actually like it then I’ll will venture out and buy my favourite albums. But for me there is something special like you said on owning a psychical copy it shows something more than just a band playing music. Also the fact it has lyrics helps a lot too!

    • Cheers for the comment Whitey!

      I think that’s a very good way of doing it. I’m hoping I can build up a really good collection of vinyl albums that mean something, but also still keep on building up my digital collection.

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