10 things today’s music fans are missing

How people have listened to music  has changed a lot over the past, well, for as long as it has been around but until about 30 years ago (mainly with the introduction of the CD) it was fairly consistent.  The CD changed the music industry for the next 20-25 years and then music downloading changed it even more.  While today’s methods give us crisper / cleaner music that lasts for a longer time (as opposed to records and cassette tapes) I feel a lot is being missed out.

Yes, it is nice to have over 3,000 songs (all ripped from my own CDs, BTW) available to me in a device that fits in my pocket but what’s the cost?

These are just some examples of what today’s music fans are missing out on.

1) B-Sides

wwry“Back in the day” nothing beat going out to by a single (usually a 45 RpM record or cassette single) for that song you heard on the radio and then being able to flip it over to hear something that usually promoted (with the exception of a “Double-A”).  You knew the A-side (the main song) but usually didn’t know the B-side and the trip home was usually filled with anticipation of what the B-side song sounded like.  Sometimes it was a great song, other times it sucked.  The B-side was also usually not on the album (although with CD’s they sometimes included “Bonus B-Side” tracks).  Sure, CD singles included “B-sides” but they were on the same side as the main song (and usually with a few remixes of each song) but nothing is like flipping that 45 over to a side dedicated to just that song.

2) Speaking of 45’s…



’nuff said.  🙂

3) Knowledgeable Employees

Today it’s all computerized with suggestions but there is no human thought behind it.  Before you would walk into a store and have employees (usually burned out – and not in an over-worked / stressed way if you know what I mean) who would see what you’re buying and then give you great suggestions.  These were the true lovers and fans.  They knew the music, the bands, and the individuals.

Today, even if you walk into a music store (if you can find one) it’s more about what’s popular (and not what’s good), or they really don’t know and just punch into a computer (yes, there may be some good and knowledgeable employees but they are very rare).

4) Waiting by the radio…

boomboxWe all did it back then. We sat by the radio with a blank cassette (or one that still had space on it) waiting for a song to play so we could record it.  When it was recorded we had the song and could play it whenever we wanted to.  If you were lucky, you had a dual cassette player and could copy the tapes (if not you took two cassette players and played the song on one, recorded it on another).  of course, some radio stations were cool and knew people were doing this so they’d give us a heads up (or to just keep us listening).

Going to the local music store to buy blank tapes was a ritual many of us did (either just the tapes or if you wanted to spend more – you got them with a case for the tape!).


5) Inserts

You can’t get an insert with a digital download and a small booklet that comes with a CD just won’t cut it.  Nothing beats a full-sized LP insert (especially if you had the Queen album “Jazz”).  Not all records had the inserts but the ones that did gave the buyer a bonus – either lyrics, pictures, notes, interviews, news, or anything else the artist wanted to put in there.

6) Playing records backwards

Most of the time it was a coincidence or nonsense but some records did have messages in them that if you played them backwards you heard the message.  This was very difficult to do with CDs (“reverse” play was just going back in time increments, not true backwards playing) and with digital downloads you need extra software for it and that just takes the fun out of it – there is nothing like putting the record player in neutral and spinning the disc backwards yourself.

7) No, I won’t forget this:



Who can forget this?

8) Human interaction

While you can download a song in less than a minute today you miss out on meeting the people mentioned in #3 and becoming acquaintances with them.  They were usually true fans and so were the other customers.  You typically became your own little community (person to person, not over a keyboard and monitor).

9) A physical product

To me, ownership means you have it in your hands and you can do with it what you want.  When you download music technically you don’t “own” the music, you just purchase a license to use it (which can be revoked).  That can’t be done with a physical item without some serious police and court intervention.  You go to the store, you buy the record, it is your’s.  No one can delete it from your house and if your record player breaks you still have it.

10) The record



To this day nothing (IMO) beats holding a record in your hands.  CDs are nice but that shiny vinyl encased in a paper envelope (usually with the label visible from outside the envelope) inside a thin card-stock / cardboard case is just impressive.  Even on a good system, a record can sound just as good as a CD (CDs are also digitized so they’re mainly a bunch of 1’s and 0’s – records are (were) analog so you also had that space between the 1 and 0).

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