Tunes, it seems, have finally become entrenched in the cloud. Why download and store your music locally when subscription services (either very inexpensive, or based on incessant, obnoxious social media posts) ? I’ll admit it: Pandora is awesome. Rhapsody has a huge library and catchy TV advertising. Spotify has the ability to annoy me. YouTube seems to have just about everything.
I know the inextricable march of technology pauses for no man. I understand streaming is a superior music delivery, but it mostly makes me sad.
I started collecting MP3s in middle school. I’m pretty sure my first was the classic Nickelback jam Leader of Men, but over time, my taste improved. Fourteen years later, I have a tad under 12,000 MP3s in my iTunes collection. I doubt it’s the world’s largest collection of MP3s, but I picked out each one myself. I think most of them are even legal, ripped from CDs, vinyl, or curated from sampler playlists. I feel like High Fidelity’s Rob Fleming – obsessing over the perfect playlist, constantly re-arranging my file structure, fixing MP3 tags, tracking down album covers and finding the right balance between mainstream and esoteric artists. It’s an unconscious expression of my deepest, fullest self.
Is this the equivalent of my generation’s vinyl? Will the kids of someday start downloading files on the sly, saving them to a nostalgic external hard drive? Will physical storage become a status symbol? Street cred acknowledged among cool kids at exclusive parties? I can’t help but feel that’s an outside possibility at best. And that’s why, even knowing that streaming music is easier than editing my collection to fit a 32gb iPhone, I still want my MP3s, and my music.