Today I’m going back to a subject that I’ve written about before; analog vs. digital, material vs. virtual. For me, it comes down to convenience and money vs. my love of a material substance in my possession, and sentimentalism vs. technology. Does that sound a little materialistic, maybe.
I haven’t really made an extreme decision one way or another on digital media. At first, I swore it all off. I was that guy that still had his full collection of VHS and DVD. Cd’s, and vinyl. Magazines and books. Then slowly, the convenience of digital media has begun to creep in. To some extent it started with music. Mp3′s were so small and easy to store and play back. Quickly though, the horrible sound quality of mp3′s made it easy to turn back away from them. I mostly just had copies of albums I already owned, but would make mix CD’s so I wouldn’t have to take my whole collection on road trips or on air planes. I never really, and still haven’t downloaded a lot of music. I still enjoy opening up the CD jacket and enjoying the album art and then going over the credits and thank you’s of my favorite artists’ creations. I also have some sort of hang up with paying for something and not have a physical copy. I’d rather purchase the physical album and then rip it to my computer if I need to. Some of you may say, why not illegally download it? Well that’s easy. First of all, blah blah, it’s illegal. More importantly though, as a musician myself, I would love for people to pay me for my music so I could continue to make it, and make a living on it. So it would be extremely hypocritical of me to steal someone else’s. I do, however, enjoy Pandora radio but that’s more for learning about new music, and is quite a bit like an actual genre radio station.
The next place digital media started to find its way into my life was one of my favorite guitar magazines, Premier Guitar. They have an excellent .pdf version of their magazine that is a page for page, high quality replica that I enjoy “flipping” through multiple times a month, and going back to back issues (which they archive online). I am the kind of person, as you may have guessed, who has, possibly, hundreds of magazines stacked around my apartment. Every month or so my wonderfully understanding girlfriend makes me choose which of my little periodical friends I must keep, and which are expendable. In true hoarders fashion, I wonder later, if I have thrown out some useful piece of information that I would need in the future. Recently I also found MagCloud by HP. It is a magazine site were small, more independent magazines can throw their issues up digitally, but you may also order a physical copy. I am only beginning to dive into all the great publications available there. This kind of ties into all the e-readers as well. For me, finding a random book at a cheap book store is just as much fun to me as a downloading it for a couple bucks and reading it immediately. I like and always will, having piles of books at my house and being able to sit down next to one of said piles, and picking an old book at random, and rereading it. That will never change for me. Unless I get an e-reader in which case I’m sure I will change my story, and I will have something new to post about.
Finally, and maybe the biggest intrusion into my need to have physical copies of everything, Netflix. Yes, Netflix, I’m not going to even describe or go into what it is, because if you don’t know, you’re probably also not on the Internet and therefore not actually reading this post. So I’m not sure why I’m still talking to you. All I can say is that if you have not used Netflix yet, DON’T! It is the devil. For $9.00 a month, I may never again buy a DVD or Blu-Ray disc. I have found cartoons and movies from my childhood and watched them multiple times. I no longer have stacks of DVDs (out of the box) piled around my DVD player. I can go back whenever I want and watch them, and not just on my home television, but from my laptop, my smart phone, anywhere there is Internet. I am horribly hooked. I see no return from this. No way out.
In summary, The unifying factor that will probably convert me to accessible, digital, media, is the fact that I will be able to read it, listen to it, watch it, anywhere I am. I’m not there yet. Can you convince me I should switch to a Kindle, or a Nook, or whatever other e-reader is out there?