How do we get our music? Physical copies vs. digital

Jacob Armstrong -- Are CDs going obsolete with rise of digital downloads?

With options such as free music online, the possibility to use a debit or credit card to buy individual songs, and the ability to share music by using portable devices, people have shifted from CD players to the more technologically advanced iPods, iPhones and MP3 players.

As technology evolves so do the variety of options that allow people to listen to music. Due to an increase in the amount of internet users, these options are now mostly available through online sources such as Pandora, Spotify, Yahoo! Music, Google Music and Playlist, which all provide music at no cost to the consumer.

However, just like there is a wide range of music available for free, there are also options that continue promoting the purchase of songs at a low price. For example, iTunes offers songs for the low prices of $0.99 and $1.29, making music as affordable as it is desirable.

According to NPR Music, which features music news and provides streams of live music and concerts online, “The creation of iTunes in January 2001, and later that year the release of the iPod, made organizing music, making playlists and happy random accidents a listening joy.”

Since there has been a increase in the shift of how people listen to music, the options that people had back in the ’90s are slowly perishing.

There are some people that still remain loyal to buying CDs. The ability to hold a tangible object that does not need to be charged directly, and can be played on a car stereo, CD player or any other device and can be taken everywhere, gives people a sense of pride because they are still able to support singers on their career in a more memorable and tangible manner.

One disadvantage to listening to music through sources like CDs is that they require CD players, which are bigger and heavier than their technologically advanced counterparts. The popular iPod and iPhone offer music from a smaller, more portable device.

“My main option of listening to music is through my iPod because I can take it everywhere I go and therefore, listen to it,” Yoana Silva, freshman, said.

“However, I believe that it is unhealthy to have our iPods plugged into our ears all day but it is the most common way of enjoying our favorite selections of music. I feel that listening to the radio could be the best way of enjoying music while not harming your ears as much, depending on the volume.”

By listening to music digitally, people have more opportunities to find songs on the spot. When looking for a CD however, if it cannot be found at their nearest retailer, they are then forced to order the CD online and have it shipped; a process that takes much longer.

The way we listen to music has been changing for many years now, but what has not changed is the love that people share for similar tastes in music and the way that it makes them feel. While devices where we listen to music keep changing, the music itself will forever arouse the same emotions among people.

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