I listen to music almost all day, everyday. Yesterday I grabbed the latest NIN album from: http://theslip.nin.com and it made me think about how the music stage is really evolving.
I realize there have been several recent changes that have really made everyone look at music and music distribution differently – but this was a big eye opener for me. I spent a good part of my life in music stores 60 miles away from my house (because that was the closest) while my mother was clothes shopping in the mall. I spent Saturday or Sunday afternoons leafing through CD after CD trying to figure out which one I was going to buy and then listen to on my Sony Discman on the hour ride home while my mother listened to her “oldies” on the radio.
I spent my college years doing the same thing, but this time I could walk to the record stores and I also had the option of looking at used CDs as well. Within the first six weeks of my stay at Penn State, I shelled out over $700 to buy all the NIN imports I could get my hands on.
I spent a lot of money on stereo equipment, speakers, and made sure my car had a great sound system because I love to listen to my music.
In the past ten years how I listen to, manage, and get new music has drastically changed. I cannot tell you the last time I was in a music store or what the last “physical” CD I bought. Most artists I listen to are not known to most because their music comes to me not through the radio, but through podcasts of their latest shows or featured on someone else’s podcasts. All my music purchases are through the iTunes music store (of course) and the most of my purchases are based on something I have heard on a podcast. Even though I have bookshelves full of CDs, I listen to my music through my computers, networked TiVOs or my iPhone. I do not even own a “CD player” besides the one in my car.
How does this all tie into the latest NIN album? The point I am trying to make is that almost all the music I listen to, enjoy, and think is the best stuff out there, is free (and legal) and from the internet…and the artists are pushing it like that. I think of telling my son when he gets older about how I had to drive 60 miles to buy the latest NIN album and it seems so antiquated when I downloaded the lastest one in a matter of minutes from my desk. I am very curious to see where this goes and if other artists will join Radiohead and NIN. This is a perfect example of when free is good and good is free.