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iTunes and the Loss of Random Discovery

I miss record stores.  If you’ve ever been to a really great used record store like Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, then you know what I mean.  Walking around, wondering what the next stack will reveal.  Hoping you find that gem you haven’t seen in decades.  The hope of finding something collectible.   Today, that experience is nearly gone.  Just download the song from iTunes and you’re done.  No discovery, no revelation, no aha! moment.  They’ve actually tried to mimic the experience with websites like
Stumble Upon, but it’s not the same.  One thing online “search” has done is make life  so easy and convenient.  It’s eliminated the randomness.  We don’t waste time anymore searching through the library cards, finding records, or discovering long forgotten books. 

But there’s something I miss about that random “waste” of time, and the discoveries it reveals.

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11 Comments

  1. Have you ever tried Pandora.com?  Still not the same as a record store, but you can ‘thumbs up’ songs you like or artists, and then it will find like artists.  It’s all free, and you can listen to it as much as you want.  The only catch to it is that you have to listen through the songs, you can’t skip through more than a couple an hour.

    i know the point of your post was more about the immediateness of everything today and our inability to step back and enjoy things, but i think you might enjoy pandora for time wasting and music discovering.

  2. I still listen to the radio in my pre-iPod car. That’s how I randomly find new music. Of course, then I use Google to type in some of the lyrics of a song I like to find out what it was — and then Zune (not iTunes – I’m a PC) to buy the song or album. I guess that’s a unique form of convergence. 😉

  3. Have you ever tried to explain to a kid why we say we are “dialing someone” on the phone, when all you are doing is pushing buttons?

    Our kids missed a lot by being born in a world where you play all day without breaking a sweat–or even leaving your chair.  Where dating is something you do on IM rather than in a VW bug.  

    Boy…do we sound OLD.

  4. Randomness is almost too much more than our linear minds can handle these days.  we have to have things in a certain order in a certain way or they are not “logical.”  Which is true, they are not, but who says things have to be logical?

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