My wife and I recently visited a Starbucks in town, and I noticed that in place of the usual CD’s featuring the music they’re currently subjecting us to, instead I noticed a plastic card, in the height and width of a CD, but only about as thick as a credit card.
I picked the up the odd foreign object, and read the text on it. Turns out this is a “digital only release” of the music currently being played. $14.99 if I recall correctly. So for $14.99 I get a large plastic card, and a copy of this music in my iTunes directory. No physical media containing the music. Nothing to put in my CD case, no jewel case, and no liner notes. Creepy.
While I think I could embrace this channel of media delivery, I have to say that I felt a little uncomfortable with it. For one, I don’t own an iPod, or other mobile MP3 player, unless you count my PDA/Phone. But I grew up with CD’s. Hell, I grew up having been introduced first to records, you know those huge vinyl discs with visible and tactile grooves and bumps in them. You know, they were the same size as a laserdisc. Then I graduated to cassette tapes, then eventually to CD’s which have been the defacto standard ever since. Hell, I even dabbled in 8 tracks and reel-to-reel tapes, since both were superior formats at the time.
But this concept of buying music, and not getting any physical media. Seems a bit too ethereal to me. I must be getting old. :–(