I consume a massive amount of music each week. My Google Reader count is constantly at 100+ and I can’t seem to catch up with the numerous blogs, reviews and Pitchfork information I read. As a result, I’m much more selective in the music I purchase.
It doesn’t seem that long ago, when I would walk out of Circuit City, Best Buy or Wyatt Earp with 2+ cd’s a week. Those were high school days, and all I had to spend my grocery store paychecks on was gas, fast food, clothes and fun.
Today, I am listening to a great deal more music and it would be impossible to purchase everything I hear. And in today’s online ADD music society, if you wait until an album’s physical release, the music is almost obsolete. For example, Common’s foray into “Planet Rock” with Pharrell, “Universal Mind Control” leaked in January. The album finally came out in November. Can you imagine having the patience to hear that single and have to wait 10 months to purchase it? Thankfully, I didn’t have to.
I know what you’re thinking: why buy music at all? Isn’t it all free and there for the taking? Well most of it is out there if you look hard enough, but that’s not really the best thinking. As much as I hate the whole business model the industry uses, if everyone quits buying music, we really might not have any. It would be completely unaffordable to buy everything I sample, but I purchase what I feel the need to.
I usually buy lesser known artists that are worth my money and probably need it. The big names albums I buy because I like to say that I have their entire catalog (Jay-Z, Nas) or know I’m purchasing a decent product (T.I., Kanye). I pretty much test everything online (blogs, Hype Machine, Largehearted Boy), so its not hard to see if an album is worth buying. Its not like the old days of walking into Record Town, paying $19 for an album that has one hot single.
The other main reason I buy music is sound quality. If I know an album is good, I don’t have to worry about scouring LimeWire for the new T.I. album with out DJ drops or an f’ed up track listing. It might be that I’m getting older, but the difference between most music available on the internet and a 256kps song ripped from a CD is huge. And if I ever decide to really DJ, the average listener would notice the quality over loud bar speakers.
Music Bought in 2008
Physical CD’s (Gifts or Purchases)
- The National – Boxer
- The Black Keys – Attack & Release
- Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
- Phoenix Jukebox – Grand Circus
- Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
- Zac Brown Band – The Foundation
- Mike Moran Music – Spaces
- Buff1 – There Can Only Be One
- Jessica Lea Mayfield – With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt
- Kanye West – 808’s & Heartbreak
- Elzhi – The Preface
- Paper Route Recordz – Fear & Loathing in Hunts Vegas Mixtape (artist)
- Black Kids – Partie Traumatic (iTunes)
- “Once” Soundtrack (iTunes)
- The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Amazon)
- T.I. – Paper Trail (Amazon)
- Keane – Perfect Symmetry (Amazon)
- CSS – Donkey (iTunes)
- Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line (Amazon)
- Lil’ Wayne – The Carter III (iTunes)
- Passion Pit – Chunk of Change EP (Amazon)
- Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Amazon)
- The Killers – Day & Age (Amazon)
- Fall Out Boy – Folie a Deux (Amazon)
- Nas – Untitled (iTunes)
It may not be of interest to anyone else besides myself, but my purchases reflect that of the industry trend. Again this year, record companies saw physical album purchases fall, while digital albums increased. To the dismay of the labels, the digital increase was not enough to cover the decrease. Also interesting is the fact that most of my online purchases were at Amazon.com. This was due to the “Amazon DailyMP3 Deal of the Day”. These albums were $3.99 at the most and DRM free. Apple and major labels who scoffed at this model recently took note.
I’m still not a huge fan of buying mp3 albums because I need something to hold in my hands to validate my purchase. Thats why I think Girl Talk’s method made so much sense. I paid what I wanted for the high quality (256 kps) mp3 album in May and was sent the actual compact disc in October. This way I got what I wanted immediately and Illegal Art only pressed what they needed.