Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Click Pop Tick Sssssshhhhhht

Quote from an article I just read:

"With Apple, Amazon.com, NetFlix and Microsoft pushing downloadable movies and cable and phone companies peddling a plethora of on-demand, high-definition content, the day is coming when the stacks of plain vanilla DVDs that clutter many home entertainment centers will go the way of the CD collection."
Look at the last few words, and tell me how old you feel.

Prior to the Day I Bought My First CD Player, my Saturday mornings had always consisted of grabbing my Rolling Stone magazine, a coffee and my Walkman with a mix tape and scouring the 45 section at Streetside Records for new singles. I would spend hours there, talking to the "experts" who worked in the store and going over the charts and reviews in RS. It was quite an experience, and one of my favorite memories of youth. (by youth I mean anywhere from age 16 to 25)

The advent of the CD somehow changed the experience. I don't know exactly how, but it took away the innocence or something. I'm not sure what that means, but I think it probably has more to do with MY moment in time.

I bought my first CD player in September 1986, at a price of around $500. I bought it in a record store, which had committed only a tiny corner to this new technology. There were only maybe a thousand titles available at the time.

These new "discs" were shiny and you could see a rainbow in them. Oooooh! At that time I may or may not have been consuming recreational pharmaceuticals, so the entire experience may have freaked me out. I might have said something like "Whoa! You can see into the future in these!" Or, more likely, "Whoa! Where do you drop the needle?"

For the younger reader, 'dropping the needle' isn't a drug reference, it's a turntable reference.
Having just paid $500 for the CD player, I could only afford two CDs that day. Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi and Yesterday Once More by The Carpenters. Ah, diversity! The clerk gave me this really odd look. Screw you, clerk!

I remember racing home, hooking up the player and popping in Bon Jovi. The clarity was simply amazing. I sat and listened to those CDs for the rest of the day and invited several friends to come check it out.

I clung to the old vinyl technology as long as I could, until singles were being released on those little baby discs and 45s disappeared. I remember the time I changed apartments and decided I didn't have space in the new place for my turntable. I may or may not have cried that day, but I'm a little teary writing this.

Fast forward>> (kids, that's a cassette reference, which is a whole different ancient technology) to 23 years later, when CDs are yesterday's news and even DVDs are becoming obscolete. I can understand why old people finally surrender and stop trying to keep up.

I've managed to change with the times. I have a pretty large mp3 collection (about 3,000 titles) and a kick-ass iPod. I listen to podcasts and watch TV shows on it.

Still, recently I purchased a nice turntable so I can pull out the vinyl now and then. It's really quite a treat to hear the pops and clicks. The music feels warmer and it takes me to a place where I'm wearing a Walkman, drinking coffee and reading my Rolling Stone.

Anybody got any recreational pharmaceuticals?


arthist99 said...

How sad is it that I was actually puzzled as to why you would need to EXPLAIN "dropping the needle" and "fast forward?"

My husband just got me my first ipod and I still haven't loaded it. I have to clean out my cd collection first - don't want to put a bunch of stuff on there that I don't even like anymore. I know I will eventually love it, but I can't break my attachment to cd's. I like being able to open up the cd and read all the thank-yous and figure out what the heck that last line said.
The end of cover art is also a little depressing to me. I got rid of most of my vinyl, but I still have a Velvet Underground and a U2 record that I can't part with because of the covers - even though I can't play them! I wonder how many cd's I'll hang on to for the same reason.

Blogarita said...

We tend to run far behind when it comes to technology...I didn't get my first CD player until 1996 and we got our DVD player just a couple of years ago.

I still listen to some vinyl and CDS, but I finally ditched all but a few of my cassettes. To me the biggest appeal to MP3 isn't the portability space savings. It's the big-ass random shuffle!

Violet said...

My first CD's (which were given as gifts, mind you...) were:

Toad the Wet Sprocket Walk on the Ocean

Mariah Carey Unplugged

Gloria Estefan Greatest Hits

Hey, I was in 7th grade and had minimal disposable income and even more limited transportation to the store to buy CD's.

Kind of crazy to think that DVD's and CD's are going to the wayside. I'm not surprised to hear it, though.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I remember seeing a CD player in 1986. My friend bought one.

It was like something from NASA.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

No one can tell me the good old days weren't good. They were just slightly less convenient.

Fantastagirl said...

I remember in my small town when we bought our first DVD player (1997 or 98?)- our local store didn't have any DVD's to buy or rent, because "that technology isn't going to happen". They are now closed.

My mom has kept her 45's and LP's, I'll keep my CD's and DVD's. I still have some cassette's, but the tape deck was sold a few years ago at a garage sale.

JW said...

Ah, memories. Nice post.
I still have a couple of records, like an original recording of Led Zeppelin II. I think I'll bust that out today...

Anonymous said...

Nice post! I'm too young to have experienced vinyl, but I grew up with CDs, and its sad that its being phased out for MP3s. Vinyl cover art is vastly superior, but MP3s have no cover art (except for that fake digital picture on your ipod)...thats like a total tradeoff right there! Vinyl's day is over, pretty much, but I hope kids will realize that music loses its value when its just digital - there's nothing to hold, nothing to feel, nothing to read. MP3 offers the same quality, and even better convenience, but it devalues the music to the point that everyone illegally downloads it and doesn't even think of it as stealing. It has no value when its a virtual file.

Good thing movies are still in good shape, despite what that article says. Movie downloading is rare and it won't take hold, because high quality movies are simply too big to download. Blu Ray is like 60 GB per disk, that would take weeks to download on a cable connection. And Blu Ray is a physical format, with a case and all. So I'm not too worried about movies, because the future in HD quality looks good.

I use MP3s and an ipod, but I still hope some physical audio format, something tangible, comes back. If I had to predict the future, though, it'll all go down the MP3 path.