Look at These Music Downloads
4th May 2012
It's not just old farts like me who still love records. I'm talking about vinyl sound recordings here, 12 thrilling inches of pleasure for many generations - but not any more.
Last weekend I retrieved my old turntable (30 year old Philips GA212 if you're interested) from the spare room and finally wired it up to the fancy hi-fi system in the lounge. It's only been 5 years since I decided to do this - in that time my daughter has become a music-mad teenager with a (mostly!) decent taste in indie guitar bands.
So it was not a complete surprise when she started looking through my album collection, picking out specific LPs that she wanted me to play. Some were by bands she had heard of but maybe never listened to, but - here's the thing - some because they looked interesting...
Ever bought a music download because it Looked Interesting? Of course not. But in my formative musical years those of us who wanted more than simple chart stuff would spend hours rifling through the racks of the second-hand record shop in Lowestoft High Street, looking for something interesting. Cover art, band lineups, instruments, lyric snippets - we'd buy stuff by someone we'd never heard of, just because it looked good. OK, sometimes it was total rubbish but you'd just take it back the following Saturday and try again.
As I sat on the floor with my daughter listening to a 12inch 45rpm single (Ian Dury, Really Glad You Came) and deciding what to play next, I realised that this just won't happen with the current generation. There's nothing to look at, no sense of passing on any of the magic and emotion that great music bestows - just looking at an album cover can conjure many memories before you even hear the sounds.
The majority of music nowadays is simply owned in digital format on a tiny device that has no inherent value whatsoever. It's hard to imagine anyone getting nostalgic over the unseen contents of some obsolete lump of plastic in 30 years time. Do you want to see my Betamax home movies? Thought not. Lost for ever.
Think about it. And if music means anything to you, think about it a lot. And an overplayed worn out copy of Squeezing Out Sparks by Graham Parker sounds loads better than anything you can download.