The Redeye Complex

Friday, June 18, 2010
Technology Is Killing Music

Gone are the days when I would visit record stores while on my travels in various cities. I would spend hours flipping through CD racks, turning my head sideways trying to read the title on the spine. I sort of do the same thing now in used music stores but even those stores seem to be disappearing.

I would be looking for those releases that I could not get at home. Singles, EPs, and limited releases were always something that I look for.

What happens now though is that I can do the same thing while sitting at the kitchen table. Instead of cranking my neck sideways, I type band names into the computer while shaking those names from my brain into a search window.

And every once in a while, my brain, keyboard, and search window comes up with a choice result.

Technology Is Killing Music by Rachel's (from eMusic) is one of those finds that would get my heart in a flutter if I was in a real music store. Okay, its only one track at 18 minutes - an EP really. Still, I really really want to hear this.

If this was a real music store, I would be kind of giddy holding this thing. I would not be able to wait to listen to this on my own CD player. I would be happy from the moment I held it until I pressed play. Happy after paying for it. Walking down the street with it. If I had my car then I could slip it in in the CD player. If not then my happiness would just continue later when I was near a CD player.

And now ...

Now I just click a link. A file downloads, and minutes (!!) later I hear it. I don't even have to move from the kitchen table.

The present day music experience is faster. But what about the happiness from anticipating to hear music. This thought crossed my mind as I read Corey Doctorow's post on Boing Boing about Dan Ariely's book The Upside of Irrationality ...
we have a tendency to indulge our pleasures without respite, and to take frequent breaks from those things that make us miserable. This is exactly backwards. If you want to maximize your pleasure -- a great dessert, the delight of furnishing your first real apartment after graduation, a wonderful new relationship -- you should trickle it into your life, with frequent breaks for your adaptive response to diminish. If you want to minimize your pain -- an unpleasant chore, an awful trip -- you should continue straight through without a break, because every time you stop, your adaptive response resets and you experience the discomfort anew.
So it seems that while we have made it quicker to buy music we have taken some part of the thrill away.


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