The old MP3 vs. albums issue

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Jake
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The old MP3 vs. albums issue

Postby Jake » Fri Jul 25, 2003 10:01 am

Funny, I was looking through old GLONO posts (as I do) and came across this piece by Sab from August, 2001: 33 vs. 45:

Back in the day, Sab wrote:Now that we've got CD burners and MP3s, what's going to happen to the album? We're left trading, ripping, uploading, and burning singles; will there be any room for anything else? Increasingly, I find myself not even using my album or CD collection anymore—it's easier to fire up the MP3 player and listen to an endless random selection of my music. But this does not come without a price.

This topic keeps coming up. What 's the answer?

I know my iPod has changed the way I listen to music, but I've been trying to listen to whole albums (in order!) in it lately. Then after a while I just put it on shuffle and mix everything up. I think it's the only compromise that will work. Moderation. Singles in moderation balanced by albums in moderation.

But how will I feel when Apple opens up its music store to Windows users? We'll see, I guess.

hughesrjl
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Postby hughesrjl » Fri Jul 25, 2003 10:44 am

I've yet to take the plunge with an iPod, though its on my shopping list for next month. I'm looking forward to being able to rip just my favourite tracks from albums and playing them randomly - what unusual combinations are there going to be, I'll find a track I haven't heard in ages etc etc.

I think the only problem with mp3's at the moment is that the quality still needs to improve. When you do up the bit rate, then it takes up more space... Once they've got that sorted, so that its CD quality and the size needed for tracks decreases... then we're there.

So how's the iPod working out, Jake? I'll be getting one for windows as well...

Jake
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Postby Jake » Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:15 pm

I love it. It's great. The only problem with it is that I find it difficult to listen to cds now on my way to work. I don't even actually know where my cd walkman is right now. And ripping everything is time consuming.

As far as quality is concerned, I make awesome sounding mp3s. They take up twice as much space as 128kpbs mp3s, but who cares? You can get a new 80-GB hard drive for less than $100 now. Space is no longer an issue. To get quality mp3s, I use EAC with the LAME encoder and use the "--alt-preset standard" command line switch. Seriously, the mp3s sound fucking great. I'm not a real audiophile, but they sound damn close to perfect to me.

Herb Tarlek
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Postby Herb Tarlek » Fri Jul 25, 2003 2:13 pm

I too worry about the future of the album. When the Apple music store first opened there was all this talk about this being the future of music and that albums will soon be obsolete, long live technology, blah blah blah. But I hope this doesn't actually happen. I like albums, I like having something concrete in my hands while I listen, I like getting artwork and liner notes because it enhances the experience of listening to the music. The idea of paying $12 US for an albums' worth of songs but no physical CD/artwork/liner notes is not that enticing. Especially when I can usually buy new CD releases for $13-15 CDN ($9-10.50 US) and get it all.

I like the idea of the IPOD - compact, light, capable of storing hundreds of albums worth of music - but I don't want to buy any music from the Apple music store and ripping hundreds of albums to MP3 will take a shitload of time.

How do the rest of you feel about this? Are IPOD's worth it in the end?

Jake
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Postby Jake » Fri Jul 25, 2003 2:26 pm

Herb Tarlek wrote:How do the rest of you feel about this? Are IPOD's worth it in the end?

I think it's worth it for the portability. That I can have 2,400 songs in my pocket is pretty cool. But I'll never give up my cds or my vinyl. Well, maybe my vinyl the next time I move; it's heavy as shit and takes up the whole room...

Mixmaster Shecky
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Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:48 pm

I've got a 20 gig Rio Riot (can't afford an iPod), but same principle. Love it-better than any radio station. Having 20 gigs of mp3's means you always have what you feel like listening to.

As far as the iPod goes, it's definitely the cream of the crop. Hopefully the iTunes for Windows coming out later this year will give PC users the same functionality and ease-of-use that Apple users have.

jaimoe0
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Postby jaimoe0 » Fri Jul 25, 2003 4:05 pm

I haven't made the leap completely yet, either. I download tons of mp3's from label and band sites, but I always create physical cd's with them so I can listen on the stereo. There are some fidelity issues, but I'd rather have the music and have the sound not be quite pristine than not have the music. I agree with Herb about the allure of the physical package. I like cover art. I like liner notes. I don't want all of that to go away... and since I don't have a portable mp3 player, it's not practical for me to convert all of my stuff.

DJMurphy
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Postby DJMurphy » Fri Jul 25, 2003 4:17 pm

Herb Tarlek wrote:The idea of paying $12 US for an albums' worth of songs but no physical CD/artwork/liner notes is not that enticing.

I'm inwardly seething as I type in this, my $0.02. For an actual in-my-hands-as-I-listen CD/LP, I can understand $12-$15 for an indie label, believe it or not, for three reasons: a) economies of scale. It takes more money to manufacture/distribute/promote when you are printing smaller quantities and don't have a media empire at your disposal. b) The music is worth it usually, and c) even if it isn't, you're helping to perpetuate the indie clockwork in order to improve your chances of getting good music in the future. When a major puts out good music these days, it's usually a serendipitous happy accident.

If a major label DARES to charge us the same $12 like they are for a datastream of 0's and 1's vs. an actual physical product, I will take every last opportunity to sabotage their efforts. If we the consumer let them pick-pocket us like that, then P.T. Barnum will be the biggest prophet since... well, you get the idea.

hughesrjl
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Postby hughesrjl » Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:08 am

I agree with you DJ, I'd never buy "album" over the net and just download... my room is over-run with CD's, but I like that! The iPod is great for ripping stuff of your favourite albums and creating your own jukebox on the move...
I don't think the future will be entirely devoid of CD's, I think MP3's are an alternative means of getting music - especially when its free and it gives you a chance to listen to bands that perhaps you didn't want to buy the album of...
Perhaps MP3's will sound the death of the single?? Single sales in the UK have been decreasing for years, with only a few thousand needed to get to number 1... perhaps the ability to download MP3's will mean no need to buy singles, paying 3 or 4 pounds for 3 tracks, whats the point??

Jake
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Postby Jake » Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 am

Five year BUMP.

Crazy how much can change in five years. Where are you all now?

1. If you have an iPod, how often if ever do you listen to whole albums in order on it? (I listen to albums in order once or twice and then let them fall into the shuffle mix.)

2. What percentage of your music listening is physical vs digital? (I'm about 85% digital, 10% physical, 5% radio.)

3. How often if ever do you purchase digital files? (Me: 30/month via emusic; 2-3/month elsewhere.)


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