I’ve always been a music lover, and acquiring music has been one of my vices. Since the middle ’60’s, when I was 10 or so years old, I have purchased music. I’ve bought music in all the formats-vinyl LP’s, cassettes, cd’s, even 8-tracks. In many cases I’ve bought some of the same albums, just on different formats. I have a vinyl copy of Neil Young’s Decade as well as a cd version. Same with the Who’s Who’s Next.
I know it’s not fashionable to actually buy music anymore, or at least not in a format one can touch and see. I’ve gone that direction too. I purchased more than my share of MP3’s from iTunes. Back in the day I even did a little illegal downloading. Not much. I never got into bit torrenting, but did do some Kazaa. Probably less than two dozen songs. I felt guilty about it, and honestly I didn’t feel the quality was that good, or at least that was my excuse to stop.
Today I try to take advantage of what’s out there to access music that’s free. I’ve become a devotee of Spotify. If you use Spotify you know how great it is. It’s available for free through facebook, which tracks the tunes I listen to (and tries to sell me stuff as a result.) Unlike iTunes the music is free, and the catalog is extensively. I’ve listened to the Lumineers (ew) and Sleater-Kinney, the reissued Quadrophenia, and Jackson Browne’s accoustic album. Though there is a radio option to Spotify that is similar to Pandora’s service, the best thing about the former is that you can choose what you want to listen to. So if you want to find out for yourself if Troutmask Replica by Captain Beefheart is the critical masterpiece the rock writers say it is, I can search it, listen to it and decide if once again the writers are full of shit. I don’t download the music, I stream it. I can create playlists, but I’m not faced with having to store the music. And it’s perfectly legal. Each time the music is played the artists receive a small royalty. Of course some artists, the ones that are especially successful, choose not to participate. No Beatles or Led Zeppelin, no Pink Floyd or AC/DC, no Metallica or Radiohead (most recent releases.)
For some reason, however, I’ve recently gotten the bug to buy music I can touch and feel. It’s a sickness that comes and goes. Last year I made a point of buying the Pearl Jam catalog. Mostly used, bit by bit. I’m still missing a couple. Don’t have a copy of Binaural. Yeah, I know it’s a lousy album. But I am a big fan. This time it’s more about something else. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. Part of it is because we have an independent record store near my house. My support for it has kind of come and gone. I’ve decided I want to be a regular customer when possible. I ordered a copy of 12.12.12- the Sandy relief album from Budget Tapes. It was $15, only $10 on Amazon. But the music is amazing, and I am happy to keep a local business afloat.
I wrote in an earlier post I moved my stereo into my den. That’s a good place for me. Let me explain. My den is where I paint my figures. That means about an hour a night, most nights, I am in my den painting. It’s a great place. I can listen to cd’s there. However, most importantly, it’s the only place in the house I can listen to vinyl. That’s where my turntable is. The temptation is to acquire lots of vinyl. I bought a copy of T-Rex’s classic Electric Warrior a couple of weeks ago. I have this album on CD and have ripped it to my computer, but I wanted to hear the vinyl version and hear if the analog sound is as warm and full as Neil Young says. After listening I can honestly say it is. I still have a fair number of records from earlier music binges. I truly don’t have a lot of space for a lot of records. I probably have about 100 or so in my collection. Even so, I can see myself adding some more albums. I have my eye on a couple of albums. I don’t have a copy of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust in any format, and I’d like to make that my next purchase. Though the album was released on high grain vinyl this year, it’s quite spendy, so I may have to go with a more vintage copy. The second album I’d like to pick up is Bridge of Sighs by Robin Trower. I actually have two copies of the cd, one an extended version. I just have a feeling I it will sound better.