An MP3 / iTunes Journey

An MP3 / iTunes Journey
My digital music story is a collection of notes and lyrics that has evolved from 45s to 33s to 8-tracks to cassettes to compact discs. The next evolution is MP3s and iTunes.

I’m scared.

The other night, I was bragging about my CD collection and explaining how I like to have nice clean scratch-free jewel cases with pristine liner notes. I noted that I clean each CD after its use and keep my collection categorized by genre in alphabetical order. This conversation took place in a chat room and right when I was gearing up to explain my method of sorting my CDs into seasonal order, another member in the chat room asked a simple question – why?

I confidently typed back that I like to have music selections for spring, summer, fall, and the holiday season.

The chatter interrupted me – why did I still have CDs, why didn’t I just turn my CD collection into MP3s? She said she’d sold her CDs, made some extra cash, and now has her soundtrack of life on an MP3 player.


No, I can’t do this. MP3s are nice, a great idea for those days when you need a mix of music. I know all about mixes. Yes, that’s what MP3s are for – mixes – not entire collections. See, my father was a disc jockey and I’ve been around radio stations most of my life. I had a tape recorder by the age of 5 and made my own mixed reel-to-reel tapes by holding the microphone to the speaker of my transistor radio. I would tape from the local pop and country stations. I didn’t worry about play lists or demographic studies. I mixed Petula Clark and Elvis Presley with James Brown and Johnny Cash. I put together reels of the music I wanted to hear and then played radio station in my bedroom.

One day, my reel-to-reel tapes were replaced by cassettes. They were portable! I could carry my cassette recorder anywhere – I started doing radio remotes in the backyard. I’m an only child and my listening audience consisted of one purple stuffed elephant and one purple stuffed bear. I would pretend that they would call in requests and I would push play on my tape recorder. I would run contests which consisted of big cash prizes ($100) and dream vacations (Cincinnati, Ohio). I taped my own commercials selling Dippity Do and Breeze Laundry Detergent.

I grew older and soon found my way behind real microphones and tape decks in several radio stations. I learned how to talk to audiences you couldn’t see, do voice-overs and talk to the post. I also started an awesome CD collection. My CDs are part of who I am!

I can’t quit thinking about the suggestion to “give-up” my CD collection.

I’m scared.

It’s not about being cool; it’s about learning and using the technology of today to its fullest potential. This is what frightens me.

That’s why I’m here. As the new editor of the MP3/iTunes site, I want to take a journey into the technology of today and tomorrow. I want to take small and big steps toward teaching myself and others how to evolve, just like my music collection. I want to talk to you about the things I don’t understand and explain to you the things I do understand. This is our chance to make a beginning, middle and ending of the puzzle of digital files and download laws, as well as the products and services that render our music and culture.

I will fight technology and I will win – by learning! Then I will succeed by sharing.

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