I’m heavily reliant on my playlist during my writing times. These days, that actually means Apple Music. Want to listen to a particular artist or song? Type it in the search bar and Boom. You’re listening to Rob Thomas or Beethoven or Florida Georgia Line, depending on your taste. (Right now I’m listening to O.A.R.)
Music has come a long way, though. Remember the days when you would hear a song on the radio and listen as it worked its way into your soul and as soon as it ended you could barely wait to hear it again? Remember switching from one radio station to the next in the hopes of catching “Careless Whisper” playing? (Okay, maybe it was something different for you…)
I think Sylvia’s “Nobody” was the first song that I bought in a music store. I heard it on the radio and could barely wait to get to the record store to buy it. We had one record store in my little hometown. Austin’s Art Shop, I believe the name was. One wall was lined with 45s, and that’s where I spent my allowance more often than not. I still remember the thrill of searching the carefully alphabetical 45s for the one I wanted—and the absolute joy of finding the one I wanted, knowing this song was mine now, and I no longer had to wait for the fickle disc jockeys to decide I should hear it.
We’ve lost that sense of ownership, I think, in our world of ready music. The same threatens to happen to the world of books. I think this was happening long before ebooks, though, with the world of mass market paperbacks. Easy enough to pick up a cheap paperback, and leave it on an airplane or in a hotel room, right? Or stick it in a box to donate to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or your local library. Who needs to own a book once it’s read? If anything, I actually think ebooks might reverse this trend. It costs nothing to leave an ebook in your Kindle library.
Hopefully, the thrill of ownership for both music and books will return. Because like a painting proudly displayed on your wall, artists crafted the books and songs that exist in your ether. Remember them. Bring them out from time to time to admire. Own them—even without the joy of the hunt.