Throwaway Culture: When the MP3 Hits the Desktop Recycle Bin
Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor
Often times in our discussions, it’s argued that a majority of the population still wants to buy music and own it. On the other hand, there’s the increasingly popular notion of those whom feel its okay to steal or “share” that same music, wherein the old adage, “possession is nine-tenths of the law” sort of applies.
However, almost everyone in their early twenties that I associate with seems to think of music in a way that flies directly in the face of this conventional wisdom. They don’t really want to own any music, not if they don’t have to. But, at the same time, they’re still very afraid of getting caught for stealing it.
For instance, the other day a friend of mine asked me in a rather polite, yet blunt tone, “How do I get music for free?” And I sat there, puzzled for a moment, because, surely, she must know how to use Limewire or at the very least, one of the other dozen programs that’s been floating around lately.
After a bit of chitchat, she then responded that she did know how to use it, but didn’t feel like that was a safe option anymore. And, I sat there, puzzled for a moment, because, surely, she must realize that file-sharing was never a safe option and there have always been some risks.
Finally, I asked, “Why do you download music in the first place?” To which, she responded, that she shouldn’t have to pay for every single song she wants to hear on her iPod. Explaining further that there’s been too many times where she bought a song in its popularity and then five listens later grew tired of it.
Let alone, she protested that her iPod couldn’t really store very much music and what she actually wanted was the ability to frequently change out her collection for new songs. To that, I inquired if she had ever familiarized herself with any subscription style services, asking if that might work for her.
Having heard how much the services cost, she then replied, “Are you nuts? I couldn’t use $14.95 worth of music a month.” Gauging by her collection and how often she must use her iPod, running and such, I finally had to conclude that she was probably right. Something like Zune Pass would do her no good.
So, there we were, back to talking about piracy, which is when it occurred to me that values of our throwaway culture had permeated down to our music too. Some of these songs are great but it seems that as their popularity grows, their impermanence grows with it. Then, two clicks and the songs are deleted forever.
Being that there are still those who strive to have the newest songs on their devices, some of the old must be cleared away, and if an artist’s music has no lasting impression on the user, then, it appears as though many people are okay with just deleting and replacing old songs with the next new, hot singles.
It is, no surprise to me that the songs that are popular on the music charts also happen to be popular on the file-sharing networks. For the average music fan, most of the people I know, they just aren’t hitting up iLike and Hype Machine, on the lookout for what’s actually popular at the moment.
To them, the music they come across on the radio is nothing but throwaway culture. Songs that fill the space on their iPod until the next singles pop up on their radar, then, like an old cell phone or a Starbucks Cup, they just want to throw the songs away. And, that’s when the MP3 hits the desktop recycle bin.
What songs, if any, have you throwaway?