The Portability Of Music Today

One thing I have come to appreciate about technology is how it has made listening to music so easy in my life. I started out in the 1960’s having to listen to 45’s on a phonograph. The evolution of music listening moved to albums, those behemoth 12-inch pieces of vinyl that today are back in vogue. They were also limited to play on a turntable. The move through tape whether it was eight track or cassette at least brought portability to where you could listen. The car, the boom box, the beach and even the Sony Walkman liberation created music wherever we needed it.

I was an early adopter of each. Many a person stared at me in 1977 as I skied the slopes of Aspen, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, and Breckenridge with headsets and cassettes tucked into my bib overalls. The ability to move the body to every Rolling Stones, Who, and Beatles song felt like my skiing ability was transformed to Billy the Kid, Jean-Claude Killy or for you younger generations, Bodie Miller and Lindsay Vonn. It was the exhilaration of “music on demand”.

The trend back to vinyl is refreshing because it brings back album artwork, liner notes and the opportunity to feel, touch and see the musicians creation. I am not sure the audiophiles arguments about reproduction and clarity of sound make much sense to the novice listener but it’s a debate that has re-imagined the need for the turntable again. For you number folks, “Vinyl” accounted for an estimated 9.7 million album sales in 2018, says an annual music consumption report from BuzzAngle. That’s up roughly 12% from 8.6 million in 2017. Vinyl album sales accounted for 13.7% of all physical sales, up from 10% in 2017 and 8% in 2016.

Don’t kid yourself though, the move to digital for music is here and stronger than ever as supported by the following chart:

Move forward to today and my new hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible with my I-phone 6 (yes I know I am still old school on phones) but my entire I-tunes (soon to be replaced by Apple Music) collection can be accessed via my computer or Alexa’s speakers. When I walk, I carry my phone, hearing aids, (and no, they could technically be called ear buds but they do amplify the sound), and occasionally $2.00 cash for a water. No need for bulk. It’s all about mp3 and portability.

So the next time you see a guy skipping through downtown Waxahachie and humming a U2 song long forgotten in your memory, realize that I have conquered the world and that my music library truly is in the palm of my hand or at least in the pocket of my walking shorts.

I love how technology has made music so accessible. I want to be in line the day they come out with the microchip to be embedded in my ear drum. The only concern I have is how can I hit shuffle on the playlist and will they allow me listen 24/7 for free?


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