Saturday, January 13, 2007

Touch your music.

Everyone has a hobby or two, and the big one for me is collecting music. A lot of people share this hobby, but I feel like I take it to extremes.

I typically spend at least an hour or two a day reading up on music, buying, downloading, sharing, deleting, playlisting, rating, reviewing, hating, loving -- and my iPod is on all day. And two things they say about modern technology are absolutely indisputable: the Internet is the best friend a music junkie could ever have, and the iPod changes the way we listen to music.

But with these life-altering technological advances comes an interesting question: at what point do we make the switch from tactile media to transient, digital media? In other words, when do I get rid of my CDs?

The quick answer is, I can't. They're my little foster children. Foster children who finally found a parent who was going to love them, who wasn't going to beat them and chain them up in the basement. I play with each beloved foster child equally, read to them, tuck them in, and cultivate their imagination. But they're all grown up now. And although it's liberating to have them lined up like ducks in a row in iTunes, no longer living in little boxes, I'm going to miss cracking open that case, flipping through the liner notes, and taking care not to scratch the CD when taking it out of the plastic sphincter in the middle of the tray. But without the CDs, that sense of touching your music would seem to be gone. Not to say I'd touch the sphincters of my foster children, if I had them.

People maintain that reading the news on a computer will never substitute for the experience of reading it in a newspaper, and I agree with that. The news should be disposable, and we should be able to react to the proposed increase of troops in Iraq by gripping the page tightly, smearing the print in our unsteady hands, and crumpling it into a piece of trash to be thown away as soon as possible.

But while the CD listening experience involves paper and plastic, I equally love typing in Y-O_L-A_T-E-N-G-O on the keyboard and watching all of it come up like magic. I love scrolling the iPod wheel. They're making it easier for us to love our digital lives in new ways. Reverend Steve, in his introduction of the iPhone the other day, kept repeating the same refrain about their new multi-touch screen technology: Touch Your Music. It's extremely important to have an emotional - and physical - relationship with the people and things in your life. A hug, a kiss, a caress. I'm the kind of freak who caresses my favorite CDs. Uh, don't tell anyone. But I'm learning to love my newfound ways of touching my music.

J and I just got a new set of shelves, and I've been forced to cut down my CDs in half. That's what initiated this neverending blog entry in the first place. I talk a big game, but I'm not ready to get rid of all of them. This is happening too fast.

So tell me; which ones stay, and which ones go?

1 comment:

amanda said...

anything you have listened to on your ipod in a year can be sold. the other things, older, more neglected, should stay until you decide to finally say goodbye.
how are you going to sell them?
I love my ipod too, but it's like a lomgtime mistrress to my very devoted wife.
There is nothing more satisfying than looking at your music collection and thinking, my God, I'm broke, but I have that Tim Buckley import double CD so all will be well.
Besides, what happens when your computer fries or your ipod battery freaks out?
Maybe I'm an old crank but I still buy vinyl and there's nothing worse than coming up with shelving for records.