Adam asked me if he could guest post this article – of course!
I Don’t Miss My Massive Walkman
By Adam Charles (Writer, Director of iWriteReadRate)
One of my prized possessions as a child was a cumbersome, stealth black, Walkman. It gave me hours of joy, listening to low fidelity recordings from the radio through uncomfortable, angular, foam earphones. Even with the clunky, jumpy, and enraging cassettes I still adored the damned thing.
The world of music has advanced since through digitalisation to be so integrated with my life, so simple to find and incredibly accessible anywhere I happen to find myself. I always have my music with me, comfortably in my pocket. It’s ready for action whenever needed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was a little resistant to begin with, predominantly as a result of my first MP3 being an ugly, hard to use, glorified USB stick. This, and I’d invested in CD’s; which could be delightfully displayed in my living room to illustrate my musical education and eclectic tastes.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m fully digital. I buy all my music sat in comfort with my feet up. In fact I actually buy more music as a result; it’s the convenience, the control, and the ability to sample before I press the button to buy.
Let’s not forget that back in 1997 the music industry tried to stop the sale of MP3 players. Sites offering downloadable digital music disrupted the traditional status quo, and they panicked; rocking back and forth in denial of the inevitable revolution.
The music industry insisted on Digital Rights Management (DRM) with their hands held up to their proverbial ears, intent on forcing the consumer to accept their all seeing control over something we had paid good money for. They cited concerns about piracy as a reason to limit paying customers – a paradox that should have made time fold back on itself.
Since then digital music has flourished, it has revolutionised our experience and access to auditory stimulation. The industry hasn’t become extinct, the meteorite of digital hasn’t thrown up enough dust to block out the sun for the music industry. If anything music has become more integrated with people’s lives. Being easier to make a purchase can only be a good thing for everyone.
In 2007 EMI was the first major record label to agree to sell DRM-free music on iTunes; everyone else had followed by 2009.
Digital is more convenient, more accessible, more democratic, more searchable, more competitive, more social, more, more, more.
As a consumer, a writer, and a human being I’m often amazed about the parallels between the digitalisation of music and that of my first love, books. In an article I read recently they called the iPod ’The Box That Saved Music’. It is ever more obvious that eReaders and eBook Apps, with all the benefits they bring, will do exactly the same for literature.
Whilst I have fond memories of my massive Walkman, I certainly don’t miss it. I’m sure the same will be true of books ten years down the line of digitalisation.
Connect with Adam directly on Twitter. Connect with iWriteReadRate on Twitter