In 50 years time when you’re sitting with your grandchildren by your side, do you want to pull out your old record collection to show them the music you grew up on? Or are you going to show them your 2017 Spotify top 25 playlist?
There are memories and stories attached to a physical copy of something. The feel, the smell, the sense of ownership when you listened to it for the first time, and how it felt to show your friends your latest discovery. In this digital age, we are bombarded with streams upon streams of endless information. It has gotten to the point where there isn't even enough space to contain all the data on our devices, and so our precious digital possessions are beamed off onto a 'cloud' in the California desert. It is here that they wait patiently for their chance to be streamed and treasured once again by their master. The problem is, when everything is streamable, nothing is sacred. (To explain this whole concept of streaming to somebody queuing for a new record in 1968 would probably result in a trip to the sanitarium.)
Don’t get us wrong, We love the brave new music industry and all it has to offer to an independent artist trying to make it on their own. With the right tools and enough hard work, anyone can record and release their own music. Through services such as Spotify, Apple Music and the other streaming platforms we are now listening to and consuming music at a rate that was never possible before the digital age. The issue is that these streamable digital copies mean nothing to us. There is no tangible sense of history, or nothing to pass on to the next generation. We can all relate to that feeling of learning something new about someone just by flicking through their record collection.
Let us not forget where we as music lovers and creators came from. Let us not lose the feeling of sharing a record with someone special for the first time. Use streaming services to your heart’s content (just as we all do), but once in a while try and go down to your local record shop and pick yourself up a record or a CD. Maybe even something you haven’t listened to yet. You just can't beat that exciting feeling of leaving the shop, record in hand, get home, pull the plastic off and play it for the first time while you flick through the artwork booklet. It beats a tap of the shuffle button any day.