iTunes versus Preservation

An interesting piece about jazz in the digital age discusses the danger of music distribution without the original album notes, artwork, etc.

I was thinking along these same lines earlier in the week during a brief musical-nostalgia-fest on the iTunes Music Store. After lamenting the recent Will Smith-led assassination of everything good about Asimov’s classic robot stories, I was reminded of one of my favorite records while growing up: I, Robot by the Alan Parson’s Project.

Much of the music I listened to in the 70s consisted of things like Rush’s 2112, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, the afore-mentioned Alan Parson’s Project and just about anything by Pink Floyd. Many of these were progressive rock albums, entire units of music that belong together. While online music services make it easy to grab a few favorite tunes, it also makes it easy to destroy a perfectly good song by removing it from its rightful place among the rest of the music.

I feel a little sorry for today’s teens. One of the great pleasures of those days was carefully tearing the plastic off a new album and spending the next few hours reading every word of the liner notes while listening to it over and over again. Even if I did have to get up every 20 minutes or so to turn the record it over.

Sure, the internet has gobs more information on any and every artist/song/whatever, but the rarity and and tangibility of those liner notes and album covers make them seem somehow more special.

Oh, and the music was better.