Given The Way We're Living

I was listening to my iTunes library in shuffle mode and a long-forgotten song by Radiohead came on. The song Talk Show Host was featured on the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack back in 1996. It was long forgotten by me, anyway. It's at the end of this playlist - a compilation of songs that it kind of, sort of, fits in with.

I think it's interesting how technology has changed the way we listen to music.

40 years ago: vinyl.
30 years ago: cassette.
20 years ago: CD.
10 years ago: mp3.

Each of these shifts in technology changed the way people listen to music. Vinyl was listened to at home, either one single or one half album at a time. Cassettes made music portable. CDs introduced randomization. And the mp3 made music sharable in ways no previous era could have ever imagined.

Today, it seems that music is going through an even more interesting transition. Through each previous generation, music was something to own. But now, as streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Last.fm and, as of last week, iTunes Radio, become more popular, music is becoming something to have access to rather than something to actually have.

In the far corner of my living room, a giant rack that holds 450 CDs stands mostly unused, gathering dust. 20 years ago, 450 CDs was a lot. 10 years ago, 1,000 mp3s was a lot. As of today, my iTunes library has over 28,000 songs, and while I realize that by most standards, that is a lot, the latest transition of technology, going from owning mp3s to using streaming services like iTunes Radio means that everyone has access to a larger library than mine.

It'll be fascinating to see what changes the years leading to 2023 will bring.

::::: | Monday, Sep 23 2013 at 12:24 PM
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