Back in the day, listening to radio was how I heard my music. There was a radio in the kitchen of my parent’s home, and a radio in each of our cars. When I was about 9 years old I was given a small transistor radio as a Christmas gift from my dad, along with a story of how he had to make his own radio from bits and pieces of wire and metal that he scrounged from work sites near where he played, and he used his own saved up money to buy the transistor tubes from a hardware store. The tubes and wires and a little cogged dial were housed in a 3″ x 5″ metal index card file box.
When I turned 13 I got an actual record player. It wasn’t even stereo. It came in a little cardboard box with a brass latch that looked like a piece of luggage that was popular in those days. It had a hinged lid and the turntable had three speeds: 78, 45, and 33. I don’t think I ever used the 78 setting but I used the 45 setting almost every day. In the early days, music was sold on 45 rpm singles, with a hit song on the “A” side and a song that no one really like much as a “B” side. If you were very lucky, your single was by someone that actually had a second hit worth listening to on the “B” side. That was usually someone really big, like Elvis or the Beatles.
Years later we bought 8 track tapes, then cassette tapes which played in stereo. Eventually the music business came into the digital world and you could buy CDs. But now, it is all about digital downloads onto iPods and listening online.
The best part of the downloads is that you can buy only the exact songs that you like and want – no more forcing consumers to buy a “B” side or a whole album of 10 songs when all you wanted was one song. That is what has the music industry screaming about how they aren’t making money anymore, but in my opinion, they were riding the gravy train for 40 years and now it is like it should have been all along – buying the one you want and not being forced to buy ones that you don’t want.