Recently a friend of mine gave me a CD, still in the wrapper. Yes, you read correctly… still in the wrapper. Think back to the last time you held an album in your hands. Carefully picking at the folded, stuck down edges, making a slight tear and then and carefully peeling off the clear sheet with the satisfaction of unwrapping that present, that one special present, the night before Christmas. Or perhaps your CD had a long, thin sticker over the side clearly stating the title and artist of your latest acquisition. If you were a true music lover you would be extra careful with that sticker, cracking open the case with an exhilarating snap and replacing the sticker skillfully on the booklet inside.
Technology has advanced and changed music on so many levels. The digitization of music has changed the way we experience music on a physical level. We download an album with the touch of a finger and listen to it instantly. Call me nostalgic but my favourite store back in the day was always the nearest mom and pop music shop. It definitely looked the coolest with the dim lights and cool posters as well as being the shop blasting music the loudest. I see Blockbusters and other DVD shops closing down at an alarming rate. It is only a matter of time before CD’s are completely obsolete, if they aren’t already. CD’s are becoming vintage the way Vinyl and tapes became.
So take a few minutes to reminisce about the good times we shared with our friend the compact disc. The sad times when I would be too violent with the album, somehow breaking the hinges never to open or close the same way again or the time I purchased my D’Angelo, Vodoo album two times over because it skipped in my favourite part and settled on buying my third copy. The shock of opening a CD case only to find an empty plastic sleeve staring up at you is something that feels like a distant memory. Goodbye to the hours spent carefully alphabetizing the towers of cds or purchasing an album by chance based on the dude at the shops recommendation or amazing album cover. Welcome to the all-digital era. It will be the job of on-line communities such as here on Indaba to bring life to the digital world and set the new precedent as to how we consume, critique, create and collaborate.