Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Hello iTunes and Why I Love Albums

Old news now but iTunes launched today. Giving us the ability to legally purchase tracks online to load onto our 'puters or those nifty iPod things (haven't got one yet but rather fancy a pink or green mini).

I'm not a muso. Never been able to answer that question, "What music are you into?" effectively. It always leaves me dumbfounded. I can't box my taste into those neat genre names that people have (cos I don't know where they fit), there have been times in certain record stores where I haven't even known where to look for the artist I want (too many divisions of dance to fathom where exactly it might be, for instance).

BUT I like going into record shops, browsing around in the different sections, touching the CDs and the vinyl, turning them over and reading the playlists, seeing who is playing on them, looking over other people's shoulders at what they are buying (we give so much about ourselves away by what we listen to, dress like, etc), chancing it into a less understood section like jazz or world.

And buying stuff. Its a naughty pleasure - something that is totally unnecessary and therefore very self-indulgent. I like the fact that I buy an album sometimes that I've only heard one track of. Discovering the other gems on it later after listening to it for a while. I like it when it takes a while to get into the whole thing - that you have to listen to the other tracks until they are as familiar as the one that made you buy it. I like listening to the album the way an artist intended it to be. And to read the sleeve notes. And to find something suprising and unlisted at the end (occassionally).

I am fascinated by record shops - full of know-it-all shop assistants in teeshirt uniforms, and musos deeply into their thing.

So iTunes. Its different, variety is good. But does it spell the end of music buying as we know it today? Don't know. There are still vinyl junkies. Record shops have brought back vinyl after almost banning it completely. Its always more exciting to watch a proper vinyl DJ spinning his discs than to watch someone twiddle with their laptop (I've seen it - I think it was Orbital playing - 4 men and their laptops in a row - a most unriveting show, difficult to get absorbed in). So if it is going to spell the end of all preceeding mediums I will mourn them passing. However, if its an addition to how music will be available I salute it. Hello iTunes.

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