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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Stop the mooching, save the music

Published: October 26, 2007
Section: Opinions

Id like to preface this article by stating that it was typed on a Macbook. I love the Mac craze currently sweeping techno-savvy, and to an extent even fashion-savvy, consumers. I love my iPod with its pristine display and immaculately white headphones. I even love the Apple store with its clean technologyeverything is patent and new, consumable, and if I can speak frankly, just plain stylin. These may seem like odd statements, especially considering that Im about to write a defamatory article about iTunes, one of Apples most popular products. So why is it, then, that I dislike iTunes so much? The answer is a simple one: iTunes, and the digital music movement at large, is the catalyst for the decline of the nuclear album as we know it.

Rolling Stone Magazine makes it their business to capitalize on all pop music culture, so it should come as no shock that theyve compiled a list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, which is topped by my personal favorite: The Beatles Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. In my humble opinion there is no greater album. This isnt to say that bands havent produced equally great or greater songs than those on the album, but as an album, as a single entity, Sergeant Pepper is a work of art comparable to few others. If we look at modern music (and if you need reference please turn to your nearest iPod) it is mainly packaged in individual songs. Indeed, sometimes one-hit wonders are just that, wonderful, (after all, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead were one-hit wonders) but often they leave listeners wanting more. The current trend were following will lead to ever-shorter careers for popular musicians. If we can only appreciate individual songs and not their artists, we will stand to lose a lot.

First on the chopping block is album art. When I sit at my desk and see my CDs lying in front of me, its impossible to ignore the iconic Warhol banana of The Velvet Underground and Nico fame. Yes, its true that iTunes has an album art display feature, but its hardly utilized. Simply, if artists are not willing to release empirically and musically sound albums, but only bulk compilations meant to bolster individual tracks, then we can kiss the beautiful cover art that the 1960s has left as legacy goodbye.

SO! How do we combat this current trend? How can we reverse the dangerous, iconoclastic path were currently traveling? The answer is simple, my friends: STOP DOWNLOADING MUSIC. Most tracks downloaded from torrents and P2P programs dont come with album art, or even album titles for that matter. Im not saying that you shouldnt steal music, Im not saying that downloading is immoral, only that digital propagation causes art to suffer. By all means, go out to your closest record store and steal a few CDs. If you can obtain music without paying, Im all for it, just make sure that you steal entire albums.

If we continue to send the music industry this present message, the long run will suffer. In 15 years, when we make enough money to actually afford to attend concerts, there will be none worth seeing. If we continue to reinforce the idea that single successes are ideal, then we will never see the fruition of what current talent can achieve. Do yourself a favor and delete your Limewire and buy a Discman. Delete your iTunes account and buy a Victrola. Get away from your computer and get yourself out to a record store.