The (consumer) CD player turns 28 today! The original poster I’m reblogging this from asks if iPods will be around for 28 years as well. I say no. Particularly in consumer goods, the time between revolutions (get it? it works in talking about lp’s and tapes and cd’s because they all run in circles. get it now?) is becoming shorter and shorter. The phonograph lasted just over a hundred years, replaced by various sizes of recorded tape, replaced within 20 years by compact discs, which are now petering out, reaching the end of their useful life.
I’ve stopped buying cd’s altogether. I don’t like owning a piece of media anymore, unless it’s on record, because I’m still a sucker for the analog sound. Besides, between the disc itself and the plastic packaging it comes in, I feel like it is irresponsible to keep a toxic plastic industry alive when it is no longer necessary, when it has reached the end of it’s useful life.
The introduction of the mp3 and companies like Napster in the early/mid-ninties marked yet another shift of recorded media. In a lot of ways, the record companies and labels are still trying to cope with digital media. It also marks the end of a different trend, where each successive graduation from record to tape to cd was due to a technological improvement in the accuracy of sound reproductions. But with mp3’s, a lot of the original is removed to compress the file into a much smaller version. It’s really a step backwards as far as quality, but in terms of storage and portability, it is a giant leap forward. I feel like mp3’s are to cds as Nirvana was to Guns n Roses, just less immediate. It marks the end of one era, the begininning of the next.
The iPod came out in 2001. A long line of mostly inferior imitations followed, but never really measured up. The software for the iPod has improved as well, with a more convincing shuffle feature, indexing and organizational enhancements. The iPod itself has split into separate products and diversified. Even that, I feel, has been surpassed by the iPhone, launched in 2007. With the iPhone came an entire new market through Apps. Even though the foist their own morality on all their consumers, they’ve still exceeded 6.5 billion downloads through their App Store. (Of course, that could be helped by the fact that many apps have to be re-downloaded with each successive iOS upgrade, but that’s another story.)
So here we are, after records ruled for 110 years, tape for 20, cd’s for 20, mp3’s and portable music players for coming up on ten years. I can’t fathom what it will be, but I don’t think the next revolution is too far away, what form it will take or what. But if you can improve on something I can purchase through my phone, transfer to my computer, a car, something that never degrades, I welcome it with open arms and a generous portion of my budget.tdrrecords
28 Years Ago Today
October 1, 2010
On October 1, 1982, Sony launched the first consumer compact disc player (model CDP-101). I wonder if the iPod will last 28 years.