Sad Olde Men Who Livest in Ye Past

What an mp3 file looks like, magnified 50000 times

Updated a few hours after the original post, because what kind of a jerk says he wants to share a kool site with you, and then doesn’t tell you about it until the very end?

Anyone who wants to study album covers without going down to their basement to retrieve them, go here! Now!

The 68 Comeback Special are not Luddites. We may not necessarily spend much time on the cutting edge of technology (not Craig, anyway), but that’s not to say that we don’t enjoy much of the convenience that modern technology affords us, as pertains to the enjoying of music. For example, the ability to store one’s entire music collection, or a significant portion thereof, on a small device that can be carried around with us, is pretty freakin’ great.

But it’s not a perfect arrangement. For one, this format has a tendency to marginalize those that came before it. Have you ever felt too lazy to get up and choose a CD from the shelf AND take it out of the case AND open the CD drawer AND put the CD in the little tray AND then close the drawer – all that effort in order to just hear a little music? Then the process for putting an LP on a turntable must seem like absolute drudgery (I have to actually get up and physically flip the record over in order to hear the other half of it? Noooooooo!).

We all know that this is not an untenable situation. If convenience is what you crave above all else, you can very easily do what iTunes, emusic and others really want and download (and pay for) the music you want all over again, or you can copy your CDs to your computer, and you can even get one of these handy-dandy turntables that convert your vinyl to mp3 format.

The saddest thing about our continued move down the digital path, from my perspective, is how it changes our attitudes toward album artwork. Going from 12″ vinyl to a 5″ CD meant that the space available for that art was reduced by more than half. Dropping that down to the size of an iPod’s display renders the point of having artwork at all virtually moot. There was a time when you used to be able to sit down and really get to know an artist and the musical work they had made for you on a level quite apart from the music itself, via studying the artwork that it came dressed in. What do you come away with after applying the same level of study to your iPod? Eye strain. As the artwork shrinks, so does the motivation to pay any attention to it, and if no one pays attention to it, how much longer will it be before they stop bothering with it in the first place?

Aw shit, but look at that. Was this supposed to be a ‘look at me, the sad old man who lives in the past’ kind of entry? No, definitely not. What this was actually meant to do was draw attention to our new favourite website, Dig.


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