I Tried to Explain CDs to My Three-Year-Old Daughter
There was some silence for a while as Iggy sang about wanting to go to the beach. I really need to transfer that album, I thought. When I broke down and bought an iPhone I didn't transfer any of my library at all because I was curious to see what it would be like to start over fresh.
For the most part, it's very liberating. Anytime I get nostalgic for one of the songs I have buried in boxes in the back of the closet I just download it for 99 cents and we're good to go. Sure, I am essentially rebuying music, but it's so cheap, and so much easier than digging out discs, that it almost seems like I'm being deliberately obtuse when I bother to do so.
More than that, it's the last of a ritual that my daughter will never know. I got into music late in life, so the first album I ever bought was The Cranberries' No Need to Argue on CD, but I watched my father transfer his vinyl to tape, then tape to CD, and my wife do the same from vinyl to CD to iPod. By the time my daughter is ready to own her music library, that will all be gone.
We're entering a system where everything you buy will be tracked and ready for upload into whatever new medium comes along with just a few button clicks if not automatically. And if you don't want a song anymore, you can just delete it. It doesn't matter because you can re-download it again later with ease and almost certainly for free.
"Ummm, Daddy?" she asked. "Can you turn that off? It's a liiiiiiiittle bit creepy, and DCs are a bit rubbish."
I told her sure, and I held up the phone so she could watch the Second Doctor clown around to the theme of The Littlest Hobo as we finished driving to daycare, because in the end she was right. Preliminaries is a little creepy, and CDs are a bit rubbish.