The digital age.

If any one event changed the way we listen to music it is the digital age.

Digital music allowed people to send copies of songs across the world with a click of a button. You no longer had to know the person who was sharing their music with you, nor did it take any physical act besides clicking buttons. The music listening experience had changed once again. Now music was as most kids said it should be, mobile, unlimited, and most important, free.


Napstar, the most famous music swapping venue, was a revolution in music. Spencer E. Ante wrote about Napstar in a Business Week article before the company was forced to shut down. "The company's bold new way of distributing music by enabling individuals to share each other's personal music collections pioneered the creation of a much bigger idea: So-called peer-to-peer computing, a way of sharing information by hooking up the contents of an individual's computer into a global information index that others can use," Ante said (3).

Music is not technology.

The way we listen to music has surly changed in the last one hundred years as we have seen. However, maybe we are not as isolated as it may appear on first blush. Yes, we can isolate ourselves with our i-pods as we walk down the street, but at the same time, we are connected to the whole world with our computers.

The important thing to always remember is that music is and should always be a shared experience for people, a connection, and a real, tangible thing. Let us hope that the future does not take that from the world.

The digital age changed everything. No longer do you even have to leave your house to share the experience of new music.

The i pod allows portability, isolation, and--many times--free downloaded music.

No matter what evolution the future holds for listening to music, we must remember that music is a magical, living thing and no technology can replicate or take that away.

(Photo copyright Rachael Anne Ryals, 2005.)