Posted by: martinworster | February 10, 2010

81. ROMANCE OF VINYL

In many ways I’m a luddite. I still buy and DJ vinyl. There’s something about the romance of vinyl – the history, feel, cover art, how it sounds – that you can never replace digitally. But all the other DJs I see play music using Serrato or similar software so they are DJing MP3s via their laptops. It has it’s advantages – space and weight being the main one, particularly if you were  a globe trotting DJ. Excess baggage is big bucks. It won’t be long – as if it hasn’t already happened – that I become an out of date dinosaur, like a wrinkled jazz enthusiast whittering on to no one in particular about his dusty collection of 78s.

It’s the same with all forms of media consumed now and how our consumption habits are rapidly changing. I still like to read books. Proper paper tactile books with covers. Dust magnets. But how long before that is totally out of date? It’s already outmoded. I’ve played with Amazon’s Kindle and the advantages are obvious. Every book ever written  available at your fingertips wirelessly. No clutter of books in your homes. Bookcases made instantly redundant.

It’s the same with newspapers and magazines, particularly with the advent of the iPad. I use the very cool Guardian application on my iPhone and it’s brilliant. All the best Guardian content available at my fingertips. If I lived in England there would be absolutely no reason to buy the newspaper any more – apart from for nostalgic, romantic reasons. I’m certain the use of this app will affect sales of the newspaper.  You can download the paper and read it offline, great for Tube travel and no elbowing your neighbour as you unfold the broadsheet.

Indeed the rapid way in which our consumption habits are changing also affects the way media and art are produced. It is undervalued. The people who create it – musicians, journalists, artists – will find it increasingly difficult to be paid for their efforts. There’s such a glut of content being made that the shelf life of music and art is very short. People under 35 are used to media, music and films being free on the internet. Why would they want to start paying for it now?

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