I hated Napster, mostly. The way i saw it, a bunch of cheap college kids were using it as an excuse to short-shrift their favourite artists of hard-earned profit. It did have its high points, namely tracking down obscure and out-of-print Tori songs, but it wasn’t something i was very fond of. In fact, I may have cheered a little when it bit the dust.
Really, how could i help but hate any service that makes cd shopping somewhat obsolete? I live for cd shopping! Even with statistics indicating that cd sales actually showed signs of an upward trend for many of the demographics engaged in trading audio files over the internet, somehow i could never reconcile the idle sampling of a new album with myself — it takes all of the fun out of blindly buying something and then falling madly in love with it. Looking at some of my recent favourite albums, i don’t think i would feel the same about choirgirl, distillation, or poses if i had gotten any sort of substantial preview of them … part of the wonder i hold them in was my initial discovery of what they had to offer A lot of college students might have wound up buying things that they never would have previously, but for a completest like me the entire concept is the sonic equivalent of peeking at my Christmas Presents on December 22nd.
250+ purchases later, tonight i found myself warming to the concept of trading files for an entire opposite reason than i would have suspected Freshmen year. Essentially: my purchasing plan for Winter 2002 is already upwards of a dozen new releases — with my time and money already tied up in snapping up albums by the myriad of performers that i am already practically subscribed to, i can’t always afford to find & snag other random recommendations that people make to me. You could argue that i have enough new music to keep myself occupied, but i could be missing out on my next favourite album every time i blow off a suggestion! Tonight i found myself chatting with Andy, and we made reciprocal recommendations to each other. However, rather than add these people to our ever-growing shopping lists, we proceeded to neatly exchange a handful of their mp3’s, and now it would seem that i’m as destined to own a Mason Jennings disc as he is to buy a Peter Mulvey album.
I never thought of it this way, but i really am a one-stop shopping center for a shocking array of artists; i own between ninety and one hundred percent of the catalogues of Garbage, Madonna, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Peter Mulvey, PJ Harvey, Weezer, Death Cab For Cutie, Erin McKeown, Velvet Underground, & Garrison Starr, with significant holdings in Alanis Morrisette, Melissa Etheridge, Radiohead, and a slew of other artists. Of course, i collectively have under 10 mp3s on my computer of songs from these umpteen albums, but it’s sort of neat to think that someone who was interested in one of these artists could really hear anything by them via me. I think that i’m finally softening to owning mp3s because the odds are if i’ve listened to something more than once or twice i intend to buy it. I still can’t endorse things like AudioGalaxy and the like because i know that i am a highly unusual music consumer, and also because of my possessive singer-songwriter issues, but there’s a difference between randomly downloading a hot new single and making a calculated attempt at triangulating whether or not you should get addicted to an already established artist.
I don’t know why i felt the need to bring that up; i definitely wasn’t volunteering to hook you up with Madonna’s complete greatest hits, that’s for sure. Of course, if you were offering to introduce me to the collected wonders of Lucinda Williams, i would gladly give you three reasons to love PJ Harvey….