Disclaimer: I am not bashing anyone who chooses to buy music only on iTunes or whatever. This is just my way of thinking when it comes to buying music. Mainly people who read my stuff are rockers and metalheads, but non-headbangers are welcome too. Just be respectful and don't shove your hate for heavy music into my face please, or say that its devils work. Thanks :)
Sooo... music formats have changed over the many decades. Centuries ago, the only way we could enjoy music is by learning it and playing it. However as time passed, sound was able to be recorded, and formats for hearing those sounds evolved, with records, cassettes, 8-tracks, CDs, etc. Convenience also improved over the years. I know that especially in recent years, convenience has boomed with digital audio files. People are pretty much holding a huge album collection in one phone!
When I was very little, I had a little karaoke machine that came with different cassettes. Really I never did much singing on it, I just wanted to listen to the music. But when I first started really becoming a music lover (around age 12) I had my first mp3, and I went crazy on iTunes, eMusic, etc.. buying the music I loved. A few days before Christmas in 2013, I bought my first CD. What was it? Billy Idol. Go ahead, be surprised. This metalhead can actually enjoy some Billy Idol XD
Anyway, when I bought that CD, I realized something. How there is much more to the musical enjoyment when you buy an actual album. Think about it, anyone who is a diehard music fan (no matter what music genre), you can't have enough. With buying the actual albums, you get more. Depending on what format, such as vinyl or CD, you obviously have kick-ass album art to enjoy (that's why some of my albums are displayed in my room).
You may be lucky to find some that have lyric sheets or the lyrics right in the CD booklet. Some booklets tell about the band and/or album. Or they just come with pictures of the band...
Some musicians even draw up their own art for the albums, such as the second picture above (White Zombie's "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1").
Shit, sometimes you may even be lucky to get a poster too! Sometimes CD booklets can unfold into small posters. For sure, box sets can include that too. There are many types of box sets that can include just vinyl, CD, cassette, or a combination of 2 or all. I'm already working on getting metallica's Master of Puppets deluxe box set, and it includes all those formats AND cards with codes for buying digital formats.
But diehard music lovers surely want to support their bands, right?
The sucky thing about digital formats is that a lot of people easily abuse that power, sometimes without even realizing it! I mean from the start of it all (pretty much), there was the Metallica vs. Napster thing in 2000, due to people sharing copyrighted music. Metallica haters tend to think that the band filed the lawsuit because they are always money-hungry. Face it, any band probably would have done the same thing, no matter how much money they already got. Copyright infringement is illegal.. duh. I'm sure now I'll get a mouthful from opinion owners here after mentioning Napster.
Anyway, its surely not 2000 anymore but there are still people who end up illegally downloading music, not thinking much about how bad it is to do over time. And really with websites like iTunes, yeah, you do pay for music. But sometimes people don't buy whole albums. It is convenient when you can purchase the few songs you do like from a more sucky type album, but in a way it can still hurt a musician financially and critically.
I've talked to fellow musicians before who have put out albums of their own into the music world. I've gotten opinions about the digital age that are all pretty similar. I had one guy once tell me about how starting off in a new band, the digital stuff doesn't help so much. Newborn bands do try to make themselves known through selling the music, playing at shows, and being on social media. But it is still a pretty difficult thing. Joan Jett (member of The Runaways and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts) told how with the second band, they started off selling their records in the back of their producer's car. They couldn't get on a major label, so they had to fend for themselves. And no she never told me that, I heard it on an interview :)
Plus, musicians do go through the trouble of adding art and what not to their albums for the buyer to enjoy. Whenever you buy an actual album, money goes to them. Since I was 13 my album collection grew pretty big. Recently with the addition of 2 more albums to a collection of around 40. I got some vinyl too, all that dad gave me from his MASSIVE collection (I'll be buying some more soon). Most he gave me are original pressings. Probably the least favorite format for me, personally, are cassettes. They aren't that bad, but I remember when I had mine, the tape would at times get eaten up in the player. And I don't know, they just seem a little less fun to me. I actually enjoy seeing that record or CD spin (yes my CD player has a clear CD lid) and knowing that the music is coming from it. Usually when I go out I have all the music on my phone for listening in the car or whatever. That part I enjoy about digital.
What is kind of sad to me is how I've noticed that record stores are closing, and music sections in stores are getting smaller. In some Best Buy and Target stores around me, the CDs only take up half an aisle, when before it was like 2 aisle (like how Walmart still is). However there is still a little hope. Luckily I'm not the only teen around who loves and respects analog!
So really, I'm not telling you all to stop buying from iTunes and whatever. The purpose of all this was to show how important the actual albums really are. Though sometimes CDs, records, etc. can be more expensive, its actually feels good to me, good knowing that I'm supporting a band that I love. I'm even thinking of my first job being at a record store. Show your love and support the bands you enjoy \m/