Some weeks back, while doing Christmas shopping for younger relatives, I realized just how different the musical world looks to someone who is, say, just now reaching ten years old. I discovered this when I realized that things like vinyl, cassettes, and even compact discs aren't coveted items to most kids. They are, in fact, stupid.
And all the trappings that go with those things -- scratches, tapes breaking, special-ordering, etc. -- are foreign concepts, old-people problems.
Some things that I miss the most, like the concept of a "fan club" -- when now, with social media, everyone is invited to the party -- ordering merch from Rockabilia, or collecting every cassingle from an album, are quaint now.
And are kids (or parents) in 2013 really worried about "Parental Advisory" stickers on albums? Parents, do you still buy (or download) your kids the edited versions of popular records? It seems to me that that concept became antiquated sometime in the late '90s.
And I am sure when these things were en vogue, there was someone older than me bemoaning the death of the 45rpm single and complaining about the vapidity of Technotronic.
I do not miss skipping compact discs, especially when I used a portable player like a Sony Discman on the school bus or at the gym. Jeez, just thinking about bringing something big and dumb like a Discman to a gym sounds hilarious now. You couldn't move very fast, and you could get sweat on the thing.
No one should be complaining about MTV not playing videos anymore, since every video ever made -- and even the making of it -- are all on YouTube for free. You don't even need the family VCR to record all of Britney Spears' music videos for later use. It's just all there.
The magic of a release date is all but gone. Albums leak weeks after they are even mastered, and there are only a few recent albums that I can remember actually going to a record store to buy on their date of release. If I do, it's one of my all-time favorites and there is no special offer with the purchase.
I asked our Rocks Off team, most of whom are in their twenties, to chime in with other things that kids these days won't ever have to deal with, unless said kids are too hip for the Internet.
"How bout headphones fucking up your hair?"
"Hearing a song and not knowing what it is or how to find it..."
"Importing Japanese CDs (that costs $25) and buying deluxe packages to get the bonus tracks..."
"Listening to the radio and having to just live with whatever they feel like playing..."
"Telling somebody about a song and then not just being able to whip out your phone to play it for them."
"Having to go to the music store in the mall to order an album that they didn't carry."
"Things going out of print? Not anymore. Yeah, you might not get the vinyl but you'll still be able to get the music off of it as soon as it ships."
"Reading album reviews. I don't understand why anyone would ever read an album review when you can just as easily listen to the entire album online in about nine seconds."
"Waiting for a particular music video to come on TV. Thinking about a video is almost always waaaaay better than the actual video."
"Ripping songs off of the radio via cassette tape."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Ed. note: I think it is funny that Alexa used the term "ripping," which to me is a modern term used for people doing the same off of YouTube. Ha.