Posted by: martinworster | January 8, 2005

27. IPOD THEREFORE IAM

Music musings; Keane and REM in Barcelona, iPod iplod, MP3 forever.

 I have finally succumbed to the world of iPod. For an normally early adopter it took a while for me to come round to the idea but now I’m very glad I have. All that music for free. No more carting round my entire – huge – CD collection. I have no qualms about downloading music as for years the music industry has been unscrupulous towards consumers. Where do I start? First there is the issue of new formats. Every few years poor old us has to upgrade to a new format. Vinyl, picture disk, tape, 6 track, reel to reel, MiniDisc, CD, DVD, DVD2 etc. It’s all very well when something new is given to the consumer like enhanced sound or durability but often this isn’t the case. I remember when CDs first came out and we were told they were indestructable and couldn’t be scratched. Music industry propaganda? Who started this lie? I remember being told you could throw them out of aeroplanes or use them as drinks coasters and they will always play. Lie. How many of your CDs jump now ending up as unknowing Stock Aitken and Waterman 80s remixes as the artist stutters.

‘Oh it’s such a p..p..p.pp.pp…p..Perf..perfec..perfect d..d..da.’
Oh It’s Such A Perfect Day’ Lou Reed sang but it’s just a shame it was delivered on my far from perfect CD.


Then there is the issue of price. Especially in the UK we pay around 30% more than in the States or Europe for CDs. In terms of cost of production, distribution, marketing, royalties etc for the music industry CDs are still way too expensive. How ironic that many years of ripping off the consumer is probably going to spell RIP to the music industry. I wonder if it’s an accident that convering CDs to MP3 is also known as ‘ripping?

It seems to be a very healthy time for the music industry. It’s about time Britain get back into pole position with the music scene. I can’t keep up. Each week it’s a new band we’re supposed to like. Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, The Bravery, Block Party, The Futureheads, The Music, The Rakes, The Magic Numbers. Is it any coincidence that they all seem to start with The? Maybe the next batch of bands will be The The (oh, I forgot we already had them in the 80s), Those Thems, That Theys, Them Theres, Those Thats.

It seems the music industry is also moving on ever rapidly increasing time cycles. I’ve only got to grips with last years must likes. The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, Babyshambles, Snow Patrol, Scissor Sisters. It seems like careers have no longevity and its just an endless cycle of new acts we are supposed to like as dictated by the music industry mechanisms. Which is why I am pleased I have my iPod and I can get back into music which never dates: Bowie, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Cat Stevens and some good old jump up jungle from 1992. Boo!

I have seen some concerts this year. REM – good, Michael Stipe is a real dude and I love his lyrics and he’s a great songwriter. Although where I saw him at the Palau St Jordi is a bit impersonal as it was so huge.

Keane – another of last years popular must likes. Coldplay minus guitars. They were good and are definitely a talented group who can write great songs. The lead singer Tom Caplain was quite amusing as he really appears like a pop star by accident. Tall, gangly, slightly awkward looking at times, although blessed with the voice of an angel. At times on stage it looked like someone had accidentally passed your A Level geography teacher the microphone. He was almost too nice and sincere on stage:

“We really appreciate your generosity and appreciation of our music,” Tom entreated with all the rock and roll nous of a kitten.

At this point I thought he was going to hand round a multiple choice questionnaire at the end of the gig. Tick Box A if you thought we were really good. Box B if you thought we were ok….In terms of sound they were faultless and very authentic to the CD which is great for the MTV generation. Some of the new material is a bit torch song but Toms voice never missed a single note. Recommended.

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