Before we moved to New York in 2008, my husband spent months sorting through (and mourning over the loss of) his collection of 1,800 vinyl albums. He decided to part ways with the majority of his records after years of collecting. Part of the reason, he explained, was practical — we already dedicated one entire room in the house to music, and the space was beginning to fill up, since we now were buying CDs at an even more rapid rate than we’d bought vinyl. The other reason, he said, was that we were planning a move, and after 20 years of hauling the records with us, he just didn’t feel like lugging them around one more time. What’s the truth about why he finally got rid of his records?
The truth started with an innocent little purchase of a 30-gig iPod. I was not nearly as up-to-date on the technology as he was, and most of my musical knowledge has been from spending the last ten years with him. He, however, wanted an iPod because it was the latest experience in music. Once he realized how easy it was to carry around the little tiny gadget instead of a case of (8 tracks, then cassettes, then CDs) for the car — well, that was that. And when I sweetened the deal with an MP3 converter that let him digitize his vinyl, there was no more reason to keep them all.
A year or two before he got his first iPod, he had purchased an mp3 player for me. I honestly didn’t know what to do with it. The player sat in my drawer collecting dust for three years, and it finally sold at a garage sale for $5. A 30-gig iPod holds approximately 7,500 songs. I am not sure I even know that many songs, but my husband got started on downloading stuff he had not yet purchased on CD—like “KISS Alive 4,” added all the albums he’d digitized, and soon worried that he would be out of space. I bought an iPod too, put my favorite songs on it, and hit shuffle a lot.
That was five years ago. I am still using the same iPod, and only recently did I have to remove a few Christmas albums in order to make room for some 80s music I wanted for our road trip. Parker, having maxed out his 80-gig iPod in less than two years, has upgraded to a 160. Dave is now on his second iPod as well, having increased from a 30-gig to an 80-gig.
We’re moving again.
This time, Dave is not quite mourning, but still saying goodbye to the 1200 or so CDs we amassed before the digital music wave completely overtook us. There’s just no need to move them again. We’ve digitized everything, created redundant backups on external hard drives, and have moved completely into the digital age, even buying what few movies we still feel we must own through Amazon Prime on a digital account.
What’s exciting is the glimpse of the future I get going through this process. Our kids will grow up not thinking about owning a bunch of stuff and instead be happy to have an iPod to hold music and a hard drive to hold movies. While Dave and I have slowly moved into the digital age, our kids are of the digital age. Even the different of two years is remarkable: Parker has used cassettes and owns a few vinyl records; he understands the past that exists there. But at age 12 he can also type 80 words per minute, understands almost intuitively the technical aspects of everything he touches, and uses a computer for everything from taking notes in class to doing his homework. Anika at 10 has never known life without digital. She’s had an iPod since she was old enough to be aware musically, and will never understand the nostalgia of knowing just where a song breaks on an 8-track or why old songs sometimes have pops and scratches.
It’s a new frontier out there. I can’t wait to see what’s next.