For those of you who saw my house in Japan, remember how many CDs I had, and how I didn't have enough shelf space for them so I stacked them all the way up my staircase? Yeah, that seems like such a long time ago. I rarely buy CDs anymore. I mean, I still purchase plenty of music; just not so much in a hard-copy form.
The transition from purchasing actual albums in a store to downloading them has been very gradual. Before I bought my computer (and my iPod), I just went down my staircase every morning, trying to decide the correct music for whatever mood I was in that day. Sometimes, I'd take nine or ten CDs with me in my car.
And even after I had my iPod, I held on to CDs for so long. I was so reluctant to download music because I felt that unless I could actually hold onto it, I didn't really own it. I began by downloading a few individual songs, mostly stuff from the 80s where I knew I'd never buy the entire album, but certain songs were nostalgic enough for me to spend 99 cents on. It took a couple months for me to purchase an entire album online. But now, four years later, the only hard CDs I buy are ones from artists that are truly close to my heart. I even downloaded the last Elliott Smith album, but I'll probably purchase the new White Stripes CD when it's released next week. I used to think the ease of buying a CD on Amazon.com made me spend too much money. Turns out I wasn't even prepared for iTunes.
Now, I feel like I could barely live without my iPod. I rarely go anywhere without it. Getting an adapter hard-wired into my truck was probably the best investment I've ever made. I wonder what the next great invention in music technology will be, because I can't really think of any way they could improve on what we've already got. Of course, in 1967, I'm sure people thought it couldn't get much better than the 8-track.
And just because I occasionally need to be humbled, here's a list of the first five individual songs I downloaded:
"Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction
"She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper
"Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners
"Time of the Season" by The Zombies
"Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles
And the first full album I bought was "Escapology" by Robbie Williams.
Let the mockery begin.