Clouds and Cassette Tapes


A comment made recently by my good friend Chauncey got me to thinking.  He commented that his first musical purchase had also been Def Leppard – Hysteria and added that it was on cassette.   Mine also had been on cassette, and this got me to thinking about the whole technology thing.  When I was a kid we all bought cassettes.  I had about 20-30 cassette tapes when I was young, a modest start compared to my current library of music.  Then came birth and death of the Compact Disc, followed by the rise of the mighty mp3.  I have always felt that I was part of that rise seeing as how I was downloading mp3 in large numbers in the end of 1997 and early 1998.  While people were still buying CDs in large numbers, I was already deeply entrenched in Mp3s.  I also saw the rise and fall of illegal file sharing clients Napster and Kazaa (both are now in legal formats)

That being said, it made me think about my latest obsession in music, “The Cloud”.  For those who don’t know, a Cloud is a pool of resources stored in an unknown location that multiple users can access.  Netflix streaming service is an example of this.  Movies are stored some where on the world wide web, and subscribers can access them from there computer or portable device where ever they have a internet access.

As some have seen, I have become obsessed with Spotify but my first music experience with a cloud was actually with Amazon’s Cloud Player.  They started the service a while back that allowed you to save your Amazon Mp3 purchases on there cloud drive and stream them with there cloud player.   It was pretty cool service but it limited you to music you actually owned.   (which we all should support the artist we love!)  Then came the U.S. launch of Spotify.  I won’t go in depth into details about Spotify since I have already posted on it recently.

What Chauncey got me thinking about was how I had now moved on with my technology. For some time now I’ve kind of laughed at the idea of the CD.   It seems so old school to me, much like cassettes or the 8-track to the rest of the world. (and maybe vinyl to some)  Now I’m in the beginning stages of thinking the same thing about Mp3’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we will start deleting our Mp3s tomorrow, but I think we will all start seeing the transition to cloud computing.  I think there will still be some of us who still want something physical to put in our hands (atleast from time to time), but certainly the young people buying music these days don’t know that feeling.

So to for all those who have signed up for Spotify is a link to a very random playlist I have been creating.  It is a playlist that will continue to grow so feel free to check back.   If you don’t have spotify you should!  (I have 7 invites left if anyone doesn’t want to wait)

Spotify link for Random Dittys found here.

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7 thoughts on “Clouds and Cassette Tapes

  1. Cool. If you’ve still got some left, send me an invite to bkuhlmann2@gmail.com (1st preference) or brian.kuhlmann@yahoo.com.

    I owned just a handful of cassettes compared to 100s of albums (LPs, 45s and EPs) back in the day. I really think vinyl was and is still much more popular and cooler than cassette and, well, the 8-track was a huge joke. LPs also seem to last longer than cassettes from what I remember. I still believe sound quality of vinyl is still unmatched. When I first heard some of my favorite “albums” on CD, I thought something was wrong with my stereo. It sounded like I was sitting in a big hallway or someone had the reverb mixed way too high. That said, I think CDs overcame this problem and now the CD is close to same sound quality as an LP. Many times I can’t distinquish, but I’m still very disappointing in the MP3 sound quality (except when I’ve got the headphones on, then I can’t tell much difference).

    But there are other reasons to love vinyl. It is substantial and you can touch it. The artwork and liner notes are huge. The album covers are artwork themselves. The reduced size on the CD, and the fact that they are almost non-existent with MP3s seems like a crime. The shiny black or sometimes colored, picture disc vinyl is a treat. The fact that you actually interact with the media by dropping the needle on it rather than pointing and clicking with your mouse. There is nothing like it. One of the things I like best about vinyl is that you have two sides (similar to some cassettes I suppose). So you could discuss and argue your favorite side A or B (1 or 2). The order of the songs was so much more important then. If you wanted to “shuffle” the songs you had to record the various tracks to cassette in the order you wanted. But why would you do that? The order was something the artist and producer thought very carefully about, especially on the concept albums. Shuffle changes the artist’s intention.

    I miss the tangile life back in the days of vinyl. I prefer to be able to touch the music – the album cover the vinyl as opposed to just seeing the file and the jpg on my computer and MP3 player. This makes me realize that just because it’s new technology, I am not immediately convinced me that it’s better or that it’s an improvement. I’ll admit, I’m always skeptical of changes to something I love and grew up with.

    We truly had “albums” back then as opposed to today where mostly we just get a “collection of songs”. It was usually one piece of work as opposed to 12-15 separate pieces of smaller work collected on a CD with some bonus throwaways to max out the 70-80 minutes you can get on a CD. Now with the MP3 we’ve sort of come full circle from the days of the single (45″ vinyl with one song on each side) which was popular up until the late 1960s when the concept “albums” took over. I think there is usually way too much music on an CD. We went from something that could only handle about 40 minutes (vinyl) before the sound quality degraded to something that can handle 70 minutes (CD). But now we still have artists who feel obligated to put out quantity rather than quality when thinking of the CD release. It turns the limited edition LP releases into a DOUBLE ALBUMs. In fact, it seems almost ALL LPs these days are DOUBLE ALBUMs. That sort of thing was extremely rare back in the day, and the number of critically acclaimed DOUBLE ALBUMS is even more rare. The Stones Exilie on Main Street, the Beatles White Album, Clapton’s Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass were a few that were considered worthy of being a double album. Many failed to receive acclaim such as McCartney’s awful TRIPLE ALBUM Wings Over America (live).

  2. Pingback: XTC vs. Adam Ant « KidAJoe

  3. Even though I’ll most often listen to music through the computer or MP3 player, I’ll still generally buy the CDs when I can. I like having something tangible.

    • I hardy ever buy CD’s anymore. If I do buy its usually on Vinyl, Some stuff I have to buy on CD though, mostly local artists though. Spotify may have spoiled that all for me for a while…it will save me money though! lol

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