An interesting tangent to the matter before us
Alex Ross obliquely responds to AC Douglas' (see below) attack on iPods. He also makes a trenchant and precise point, which point, of course, reminds me why he writes for The New Yorker. And, I - shades of Chevy Chase here - don't. His point:
My attitude remains this: all recordings are fakes, and CDs happen to be more convincing fakes than MP3s.I don't think you can get a much better précis on the matter. Ross also looks at the death of the CD among the pop-music set, through another's essay - but a still-interesting take,
By the way, Jeremy Schlosberg has written a persuasive essay linking the decline of the CD among pop listeners — classical listeners show no inclination to abandon it — not to the Internet but to the CD's hour-plus running time. Few artists, he says, can come up with seventy-five minutes of first-rate material in any given year. Plus, there's something ideal about a forty-minute listening session.Again, I'll iterate my point that "a collection of great dance songs" doesn't need to be 78 minutes long. That is, these days, all a record is. There is no chance that Wish You Were Here or Thick as a Brick would get made in 2007. There is a negative chance (i.e., a positive chance that this idea is being worked against by executives) that something like Quadrophenia or The Wall would get made.
The industry isn't interested in seeing what pop can be. They're interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator. Why? Well, to take a modern example and not run back to Sgt. Pepper's, Release the Stars (Rufus Wainwright) might be an interesting and complex record, but it won't sell nearly as well as Rihanna or that God-awful Plain White T's single.
So, they'll pander to the mighty Interweb (Did anyone else notice that Senator Ted "A Series of Tubes" Stevens is in trouble with the FBI and IRS?), which - with its track-by-track sales and universal distribution - is their ideal business model. The record, as a cohesive and interesting whole, is all but dead. Radio, then video, killed it. Then they stopped actually showing videos, except from 6 AM to 10 AM, while their target audience is either at school or still asleep, so radio finished their job.
I'll never meet "their" children, but I'd still be interested to know what "they" told them.