Like the phonograph, vinyl record, 8track, and cassette tape, the CD enjoyed its supremacy of the music world only to see to see its reign end to something smaller, something more “efficient”. However, unlike its predecessors, the CD’s demise was not purely technological. It was cultural.
Technological advancements in the music industry have always been structured around increasing the ease and accessibility of music. I’ve been under the opinion since its institution, that the iPod has not only revolutionized the platform music is presented on, but also how music is listened to. If cell phones, laptops, and social networks are any indication; we are living in the “Any time, Any where” society. And I’m just not ready to include my music into this phenomenon.
Every now and then I’ll get a chance to scroll threw my friend’s iPods. I look for the same thing every time: artists that only have one or two songs listed. Recently I noticed a friend of mine only had one song by The Beatles in her whole collection. It was “Eleanor Rigby”. A great song, but very few people would argue that any one song could do justice explaining who The Beatles were and what they meant. However, people argue about what album best represents the group constantly. They can do so because an album has depth, range, emotion, and direction which can convey the goals and vision of the artist. If a musician can be justly represented by a single song, then they’re a one hit wonder. The Beatles are not one hit wonders, but obvious facts like this are not necessarily apparent when the music device you use does not require an investment larger then one song per artist.
The point I’m attempting to make is that I’ve always been under the impression that music is best served as a whole album. Songs are great, but it’s the album that’s a musician’s art piece. Unfortunately an album, whether on an iPod, CD, or vinyl cannot be fully appreciated “Any time, Any where”. You have to commit something to listen to an album. The one thing our culture is currently trying to maximize more than anything else: your time.
When was the last time you sat down and listened to a whole album?