One of my favorite bands – Camera Obscura – released a new album yesterday here in the States. The United ones, that is, for those not paying attention. I heard about it the old fashioned way –
through the band’s Facebook posts. Due to the easy portability of digital content, I had already heard the album quite a few times before its release. Thank you live streaming! Quick aside: the
album is fantastic.
Knowing that the album was coming out, I was faced with a few options: download it on iTunes, order a hard copy of the CD from Amazon, borrow it from any person who purchases the hard copy, or find a store that would actually have it. Considering there are no longer any record stores in my town finding a brick and mortar store that carried the album would seem more trouble than it is worth.
When I was younger (my hair is gray and quite thin up top, make of that what you will), I actually had to travel to a store to purchase a cassette tape (later CD). The retail price was always jacked up enough to make the “sale” price look good. But that’s retail – someone has to pay for the lights to be on. The cassette always had a background hiss and fast forwarding a song was painful.
Then something happened not only to music, but all content. It became easy to copy and share. Suddenly fifteen bucks for a CD seemed like a ripoff because there was no actual physical product, just data that lives inside a computer, and .mp3 player, and my phone. I no longer have a CD rack, I have an iPod that carries all my songs, and the equivalent of what can be displayed in a record store. Fun fact: I did not actually verify this fact, I made it up.
While the experience of browsing in a store may be gone, I did discover Camera Obscura through contemporary means: I first heard them on Pandora.