Whenever I talk to a music junkie, one sentiment that almost always comes up is nostalgia. The modern audiophile is mired in his desire to immerse himself in vinyl music. While vinyl does have its merits, people who claim that they “miss the good old days of vinyl” should stop fixating on the past and realize just how awesome the ability to have digitized music is.
The biggest advantages to digital music are mass storage capabilities and portability. Within the past 14 years, MP3 players have been transformed from a novelty with a capacity of 32 MB, or about six songs, to an irreplaceable cultural fixture. They are not only able to hold up to 180 GB, or about 40,000 songs, but they can also be used for watching TV, checking e-mail, or reading books. It’s a shame that our generation is so technologically desensitized, because that achievement is astounding — mind-blowing, even.
But the technological achievements are not the biggest reason why digital music players are awesome. Instead, it is the personal history that they contain. Each MP3 player functions as an autobiography, compiling the music that has come to bookmark every event and person that influences our taste and style. The advent of the MP3 player does not just result in a more convenient method of enjoying music, but also in a more convenient way in which to express our lives to others. Ask to look at another person’s MP3 player and scroll through their handpicked catalog of sound. Who knows what intriguing detail of their life you’ll find? Maybe you’ll discover that the classical cellist major you sit next to in class is also a huge fan of black metal, or that the quiet girl who eats alone has the exact same music taste as you, or even that the music director of a freeform radio station has a not-so-guilty love of Ke$ha.
Vinyl is a great medium for listening to music and should not be forgotten. But at the same time, digitized music makes viable so many possibilities that you would be doing yourself a disservice by dissing MP3s.