Debates rage elsewhere on the price of the new Radiohead album and whether or not the digital revolution is a good thing or a bad thing. I've been downloading music legally (and otherwise initially) for around six or seven years. People are waxing nostalgic about the pros and cons of vinyl and CD's. I have no idea where my LP's and Singles went, possibly lost or accidentally discarded in some house move or other. I can't say I miss them much (except for that white vinyl 12" of Bela Lugosi's Dead- DOH!), I was never one for aesthetics of the gatefold sleeve and the warm crackle of needle on groove.
I'm actually starting to get a wave of nostalgia about the early days of illegal downloads. Anyone else remember the pleasures of searching for lost favourites and downloading them over dial-up from Audiogalaxy or pre-respectable Napster?
Nowadays, all music is listed to digitally in my house. If I listen upstairs in my study, it's via a PC to my collection on a networked hard disk, using headphones or speakers. If it's wanted downstairs, there's another PC there to pipe music from the same hard disk. The same computers can also deliver last.fm or 6Music. They can also propagate music out to the various portable devices, such as my battered iPod 'Classic', or to the dog's Shuffles. This all sounds very impersonal and technical, but in the words of Ellen Barkin's character in Barry Levinson's film Diner, "I just wanna hear the music."
I still add to my CD collection, although I have nothing to play them on except the computers. I just find that if you buy it on a CD, you can rip it to whatever format you like, and you've always got a back-up for that inevitable disk failure. Largely though, my CD's gather dust.
I've decided not to take up Radiohead on their generous 'pay what you like' offer. The reason for this is time. I've got a backlog of album's that have barely got past a first listen. Some of the comments on Andrew Collins' blog talk of nine listens of In Rainbows in the first day. How? I'm still trying to squeeze in extended listens to:-
- Hey Venus by Super Furry Animals
- Going Way Out with Heavy Trash by Heavy Trash*
- Dark on Fire by Turin Brakes
- Icky Thump by The White Stripes
- At My Age by Nick Lowe
- The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
- Funeral by Arcade Fire
- Lady's Bridge by Richard Hawley
I have a 15 minute car journey to work, which is is usually sound-tracked by something from my ipod, but it's not long enough to get a handle on a whole album.
I'm curious about other people listening habits. Where and when do you listen to new albums. When so you listen to old favourites. When do you listen to the radio? When do you sit in silence?
*Whilst throwing this post together, I forced myself to listen to one of my un-listened to albums. I picked Going Way Out with Heavy Trash by Heavy Trash. Highly recommended! Especially if you like the idea of Jon Spencer performing a kind of Eddie Cochrane/Tom Waits rockabilly blues/punk -meets The White Stripes.
Rock'n Roll Lives!