To everything, turn, turn, turn… 1967 saw the summer of love and a cultural revolution based largely on the rejection of commercialism. By 1969, the Summer of Love was over and Woodstock and its 500,000 attendees turned the nation on to counterculture as an acceptable lifestyle.
Music played a major roll in galvanizing a nation and even the world. Groups like Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company & Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix created music that told the story of a changing generation and a changing world.
This week, Apple tried to bring back some of the love with a slue of new iPod related products and features including a camera in the Nano, and a cheaper iPod touch. Their presentation touted a new iTunes, and a better experience. It is clear, and has been for some time, that media of all kinds is moving toward the digital age. According to an IFPI press release put out earlier this year, “Recorded music is at the forefront of the online and mobile revolution, generating more revenue in percentage terms through digital platforms than the newspaper (4%), magazine (1%) and film industries (4%) combined.”
Not to get nostalgic, but I remember when the iTunes store opened. Before that we had Napster and LimeWire. We also had CDs, mini discs, tapes, records… 8 tracks anyone? My college roommates & I watched in awe as Steve jobs announced the future of the music industry. We were thrilled when we could browse through the iTunes store and buy songs without having to buy an entire album. Of course, the quality didn’t compare to SACD, or HD Audio, but it was all right for listening to on an iPod, in between classes. Years later, I remember beating Guitar Hero, around the same time a rather hilarious South Park episode aired, which brought into question the nature of “virtually” playing music, vs. actually playing music. Today, the Beatles are getting a digital makeover, and the inclusion into Rock Band, so millions of gaming/music fans can feel the thrill of playing some of the world’s most popular songs, after a hard day’s night. All they need is love… love and Rock Band. My XBox consul is jealous.
The times, they are a’ changing, (and no, I don’t mean as in the first scene of Watchmen). The age of the record store is slipping away and the digital dawn is rapidly upon us. Perhaps we are the Fahrenheit 451 point, where the physical media, be it book, music, or movie, no longer exists, and we literally have to embody the story within ourselves, or at least our iPods & Zens. If so, I encourage you to stay social, whether it’s through a computer and sites like Twitter and FaceBook, over the phone, or even in person, stay social.
As for Apple’s announcement this week, there was no tablet, no new computer, and no massive cultural revolution; only, another evolution in how we interact with and share media.
I like to think that it’s not the earth-shattering events in life that change us; so much as it’s the constant stream of little events. This week, it’s only rock & roll, but we all know that rock & roll can change the world.