Via NEXT listener Victor
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I am not a big “wrap -up the decade” guy. But I was thinking about how much the Ipod and similar devices really transformed music. But the more I thought about it, the Ipod really empowered the entire digitization of music. Now bands can create and distribute their own music quickly and cheaply. Only a few years ago to get a good recording they would have to get expensive studio time – and forget about distribution. Distribution was selling CDs at concerts.

When Apple first introduced the Ipod in 2001, the device could hold 1000 songs. I remember thinking how cool that sounds. But realistically there was no way I could have 1000 songs I want to hear. Thinking back – the Ipod didn’t seem to be so revolutionary. The iTunes music store didn’t come out until 2 years after the ipod. At the time, an ipod was good for burning your cd collection to make it portable. At inception the ipod was about portability rather than accessibility. When Itunes came out, it had 200,00 items to purchase most of which were songs – but as you know 200,000 isn’t that much and the old stuff didn’t exist. But itunes was a HUGE hit that became a monster when available for windows in late 2003.

As the same time Itunes became available – home recordings through Digital Audio Workstations on your Mac or PC flourished. Bands could record there own music and through a relatively inextensive process get their music released on Itunes. Most of this has really taken off in the second part of the decade – the massive ditigization didn’t start until just a few years ago.

Napster – do we even remember what Napster was? It appeared to be the biggest threat to music – people sharing their music for free. The music industry killed Napster (with the help of Metallica!), but the missed the real threat to the industry. Bands would be willing to give away there music in order to lure fans into clubs and halls to see them play.

What I have found in this revolution is that I am listening to more music in the indie/alternative space and far less in other genres. I still listen to a bit of classic rock that 107.1 pumps through as well as classical on the
weekends. But very little jazz/american standards (sinatra, basie, monk,etc.) that used to be in my regular CD rotation. There is just no time.

Also podcasts now eat into what used to be music time. When I am working around the house, instead of music, I have NPR podcasts, On The Media etc. I read far less (maybe that’s also due to the kids) and listen far more.


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