I recently visited a friend of mine who I’ve known for years but rarely go to his apartment. He has the tiniest apartment you have ever seen but one of the largest personal compact disc collections you can ever imagine. Every inch of his walls is covered with custom-made little wooden slots that house each compact disc as if it were a piece of jewelry. A few years ago I asked him why he wasn’t converting his collection into digital music by simply downloading each album into iTunes or some other music manager. He said he didn’t want to spend the time doing it. Had he started the project then, he could have been finished by now. Several albums a day doesn’t take that much time. Instead, he has now decided to sell his collection because he is moving in with his children and his bedroom is going to be even smaller than what he lives in now.
I am still scratching my head over this scenario. If all of his music had been downloaded to his laptop or his portable music player, he could have taken his collection with him in the palm of his hand. Why doesn’t he understand this phenomenon? I am pretty sure he is not even going to sell his CD collection but rather siphon it off to neighbors in his fourth floor walkup in Hell’s Kitchen, in Manhattan. I tried to explain to him that his collection could sell for over a hundred thousand dollars, but he just looked at me and said, “Why bother?” I pointed out that his children could use the money. He promised me that he would talk to them about it, but I guarantee that was just to get me off the topic.
Meanwhile, a recent report from Strategy Analytics said that CDs are going the way of the 78s. For the first time, digital music download sales will surpass CD sales.
I thought this happened months ago, but I guess I was wrong. U.S. digital music sales will rise to $3.4 billion this year, exceeding the $3.38 billion in revenue from CDs and vinyl. “Streaming-music services such as Spotify and Pandora will be the key growth drivers over the next five years as usage and spending grow rapidly,” Ed Barton, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics, said. “The industry will be hoping that digital can rebuild the US music market to something approaching its former stature.”
With that in mind, I wanted to share what young people have to say about music these days. They echo what my old friend would have said in his teens and what he would still say today. Here are quotes from middle school students from around the country. They tell us a lot about life and the way we all should be living. Music can be a peacemaker, an energizer, a fantasy trip, and a quick reality check.
“Music lifts up your soul and releases it.”
“Music is important because it can describe people, places, movies, or animals that words can’t. Without music, the world would have a hard time understanding other things.”
“Music is important because it helps you express yourself in ways that you can’t with normal talking.”
“Music is important to me because it gives me something to look forward to everyday.”
“Music is important because it allows people to be creative and it offers more life to people.”
“Music is important in my life because it gives me something to do. I think it is important to the world because it helps people feel better and can give them hope.”
“Music is important in my life because I always have something to sing along to and relate to. It is important to the world as a whole because it brings us together.”
“Music is the highlight of my day! After a rough day, I like to listen to music to lift my spirits.”
“Life without music would be boring… no background music for movies, and life would sound dull.”
“I play a lot of video games, so I hear a lot of music with it. I may not notice, but the music provides more depth to the situation.”
“Music is important to people’s lives because it makes things better when things aren’t going right in the world.”
“Music isn’t important in my life, it IS my life. From flute, to piano, to guitar, it pretty much controls my life. In the case of the world, it unites it with happiness and continues and tells histories of civilization.”
“Without music, there would be nothing to do. There wouldn’t be video games, TV shows, or concerts to go to.”
“Without band, I wouldn’t have met all of my friends at school.”
“Music is an outburst of the soul.”