I remember when it began, around 1987. I had saved enough money mowing lawns, and managed to talk my parents into driving me to the Lechmere (Best Buy before there was a Best Buy) an hour away in Albany, New York. For $400 I got the second model Discman that Sony made and two CDs – Wang Chung’s Mosiac and Van Halen 5150. I didn’t have enough to complete the 1987 holy trinity by adding Bobby Brown, Don’t be Cruel. Maybe not Sophie’s Choice, but a tough decision. After years of listening to worn out cassette tapes I was blown away. Through college I bought while I still had summer cash to burn, and sold in the spring to get the cash to make it to the next summer.
Fast forward to the same renaissance in video, I replaced my 40 or so favorite films with DVDs, loving that the wouldn’t get eaten by dirty play heads, and the soundtracks were pristine.
Now, 25 years later I’m at a tag sale one of the neighbors is having. They have a box of CDs that people are looking through and a six year old girl asks “Daddy, what are those?”. One of the men thumbing through the box says “Honey, these are CDs, this is how we used to buy music.”
And it struck me there that the transition was over. I’ve been walking around with my music on an Apple device of some kind for years, the last of the CDs in a box in the basement, but it wasn’t until the past two years that I started thinking “If I was going to take the time to watch The Matrix again, there’s no way I’d watch the DVD when I can get it on the Apple TV in HD.” Slowly the bookcase of DVDs is shrinking as they get replaced with their virtual twins. I’ve waited my whole life to be able to watch a movie while traveling on my iPad. My son is born into a world where Toy Story is the first movie he sees, and he can take it with him wherever he wants and watch it at any time.
Although it’s shaken up the media world, I’m enjoying this new thing.