I haven’t bought music in two years. I did have a span where I would mail order some more obscure CDs from my ear-to-the-ground friends at Aquarius Records in San Francisco (thanks Jim and Andee!). I would also buy my classic CDs, Sam Cooke to The Stooges, from Amazon. I’d get the discs in the mail, load them into my server, and file them away for safe-keeping. It sounded better at full resolution, and overall was cheaper per CD, rather than $1 per song off of iTunes - $1, for a low quality mp3 that seamlessly loaded on my phone – I’ll do the extra steps thank you very much. I have never bought an mp3. Wait, I take that back – I did buy the mp3 version of “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus from Amazon a few years back, in a pinch. Remember that creeper scene from Silence of the Lambs where Buffalo Bill blossoms into a beautiful woman? I usually spin it at the annual sweater party that I DJ here in Whitefish, which is a very big deal. You’ve probably heard about it, so I won’t bore you with the details.
So why would someone like myself, who makes their living recording music, not support the industry that pays the bills? Quality - the product and service has to be good. The disintegration of the quality of sound recordings has left me unmoved. The lack of knowledge of the staff at your typical Best Buy and Costco has left me unmoved. Now maybe I am a bit of a music snob, but come on, we have so much growth happening in art and technology right now. Yet we still can’t seem to get the music consumer experience right....? It seems to me that the passion that went into the records and record shops of yesteryear may have been overlooked with this generation. Maybe not, with specialty shops like Aquarius and Ear Candy at our disposal. These are the people I want to talk music with.
Last week I spent 2 hours and $200 at Ear Candy Music in Missoula - a hundred dollars an hour, people – I bought vinyl. Yesterday, I made a good sized mail order purchase with Aquarius. I bought vinyl. In most cases I get the download for free - but I probably won't download them... too much work ;) Am I dinosaur? Nope, I’m forward thinking. For people who want to experience the music, touch it and feel it, get the vinyl – then get the mp3 along with it for your phone/music server. Yes, that's right, the cell phone is the new digital music media server. And now companies like Wadia with their 171i, are making digital converters to bypass the audio electronics in the iPhone - we're cooking with gas! Add the cloud concept to the mix, with services like Spotify and Mog going mobile, I don’t see any reason why labels and musicians won’t make their digital content available in the cloud as per a subscription, or even better, for the people who bought the vinyl. Better sound, and no downloads? Seems like a win win to me. Goodbye CDs.