Is iTunes Killing Music Nostalgia?

July 26, 2012

By: Darrin Clouse

It’s no secret these days. Everyone is well aware of how easy it is to download your favorite music in less time than it takes to find your car keys. It’s a natural progression in our techno-hungry world, and music was destined to change as the ability to receive it and listen to it changed as well.

If there was an evolutionary chart of our musical access it might look like this….



iTunes can undoubtedly accept most of the praise for this advancement. In fact, for those who remember, Steve Jobs protected his format in the early days of the iPod, and you could only access the world of iTunes if you were running a Mac. Of course, Jobs was not only a revolutionary inventor, but also an extremely savvy businessman, and it wasn’t long before iTunes became the cross platform program that it is today.

To avoid being branded a hypocrite, I’ll admit that I’ve taken full advantage of digital downloading, and my iPod contains a small fortune’s worth of music, but I’m not sure if it’s out of convenience or necessity. There’s not really much of a choice these days.

An Unlikely Opponent Speaks Out

Did the likes of iTunes and Amazon instant downloads ruin the music business? That’s debatable, but one thing is for sure, it forced almost every music store I’ve ever known out of business.

Last year, the rarely controversial Jon Bon Jovi took offense and claimed “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music industry.” He then qualified his statement by adding, “Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like…”

It’s worth mentioning that Mr. Bon Jovi  did not award Steve Jobs this title posthumously, and who knows if he would have been so critical of the founding father of everything “i” if it were closer to the time of his death.

During college at Indiana State University, this is where we went to experience the good old days of sifting though albums.”Headstone and Friends” has become a bit of an rarity, as it remains open to this day, in Terre Haute, Indiana

The Lost Art Form

All blame aside, few people will disagree that the art-form of album covers is not much more than a nostalgic memory today. Which is a shame, because the image on the cover was not only a representation of what was inside, but also a staple of that period in your life when you were listening to it.

iTunes attempts to soften the blow by offering the “digital booklet” to anyone who makes a full album purchase. A PDF version of the CD cover and sleeve, and printed lyrics if the artist offers it. It’s basically what you would have received if you had bought the CD.

But it comes across as stale and lacks the sincerity of a vinyl album cover, and that’s if you even decide to open the digital book !  I agree with Jon, the steel horse riding cowboy, when he says that kids are missing out on the experience of discovering a record and making a decision to buy an album solely on the appeal of the album cover, even though you’ve never heard of the band.

Like Sands Though the Hourglass

When I was a teenager, my friends and I were always shopping around in record stores, hoping to find something new to listen to, and one day my friend Trent showed us an album that had caught his attention. Then, he announced that he was buying it only because the four guys on the back cover looked cool.

We had to laugh because it appeared to be four women, and he was confusing them to be men, but it was his money, so who were we to judge?

By the time we listened to it, we thanked him for making such a risky purchase on intuition alone, and we high-fived him every time we played that album from then on,

because it turned out that he had stumbled across a not quite so famous yet Motley Crue and their album

“Shout at The Devil.”    

Major SCORE !







Click here to let us know how you feel about the digital trend of music and whether or not you miss the old days of vinyl, or cassette, or even 8 track !!!

Also, watch for a dedication to my favorite album covers from my youth, next week!