Ten years ago this month, I learned a unique lesson of why I should never become a stock broker later in life. I was reading a newspaper (most likely because it had something to do with homework) and I saw an advertisement for a new Apple product called the ‘iPod.’ Apple wasn’t much of a threat at this point; Apple was known for computers, and the only Macintosh I knew was at my old elementary school’s library. With that in mind, all I could think of was, “I can’t believe they’re not going out of business soon.” Boy and I’m glad I didn’t put any money down on that thought.
This was around the same time when CD’s were still the main product, minidisc players were the new luxury, and digital mp3 players were only useful if you wanted to carry up to 10 songs with you at a poor sound quality. I had a Sony Minidisc player at the time, and thought it was the greatest thing ever because I was able to fit about 60 songs on a single disc. Yet I still only viewed it as a way to carry with me some songs that were my current favorites. Who needs more than 60 songs that they picked at a time anyway?
As you can tell, I was the only person who thought this at the time, because before I knew it, everybody had an iPod in their hands… including me. It’s was so simple to use, so user friendly, and most importantly it held 1,000 songs. Who can complain? Well, for a while, I couldn’t. I was in high school at this point, so music was the only thing that made me truly happy.
It didn’t take long, for me to hit the dreaded status of iPod burnout victim. You know exactly what I mean, because you’re a victim of it yourself if you own one of these machines. When you have every song you own just two finger clicks away, it’s easy to ditch the song you’re listening to and go to another one every 15 seconds. It’s also easy to eventually hate every song on your iPod, because those are the only ones that pop up over and over again.
I don’t think people necessarily hate their music, but I do think that digital mp3 players have taken away some of the pleasures affiliated with listening to music that is recorded on vinyl. There is the cover art, the liner notes, and the weird pictures throughout the booklet. These things made me feel like I am experiencing a true connection with the musicians that I love. After writing this, I feel like I need to take a stand. I’m going to put my iPod away for a month, and any music I want to listen to needs to be either on the radio, on CD, or on the new hipster favorite and all-time classic… vinyl.
Mike Michalski is the host of Drive-In Radio which airs Wednesday’s 9PM to Midnight.