Monday, November 28, 2011


I've lived long enough to see the changes and transformation in the way music is marketed and released to the public. When I was growing up, it was common to see vinyls or records sold in music stores. These came either in EP or LP form with the former containing 2 to 4 songs and the latter 10 to 12 songs. 8-track cartridges came not too long after that, making it possible for one to listen to music while driving. Cassette or audio tapes were very popular in the 80s since they were light, portable, affordable and more durable. When the first Walkman was introduced by Sony as a portable cassette player, the music industry saw a tremendous boost in sales of cassettes. CDs were introduced in the late 80s and they slowly gained popularity among music buyers. Now, music is offered to the public in whole new way. Downloading or streaming from iTunes and other music services is quite the norm nowadays especially among the younger generation. Consequently, the older music formats are slowly being abandoned by both buyers and publishers. We can't fight the digital age and sooner or later, changes are bound to happen but are we ready to embrace the changes? Will the changes bring far more good to all parties concerned namely the buyers, retailers, producers, artistes et cetera et cetera et cetera? As consumers, are we ready to happily accept this new format and abandon the old way we purchase and listen to music? Can downloaded audio files replace the psychical formats that we are so familiar with all these years? It's different when we talk about CDs replacing audio tapes or audio tapes replacing records since CDs, audio tapes and vinyls are all physical formats. Here we are talking about a digital form replacing the physical forms. As a consumer, I feel I will get my money's worth when I buy a physical format since I will be getting not only the music but a few other things as well. Album covers, booklets, mini posters, stickers, box, obi, promotional items et cetera et cetera et cetera will no longer be available for music buyers. Furthermore, the quality of the best downloaded audio files (so far) has still not matched that of a CD or vinyl. In other words, consumers have to shell out more money for a product of a lesser quality (and obviously with no extras). Listening to music is all about appreciating the beauty of sound and voice. It is not simply listening like what many people have been doing. Beauty will be lost when it is not appreciated and so will good music if it's abandoned jut to make room for something more convenient but inferior.