Which Do You Prefer?

I easily could have started this post with the line “the bullet or the chapstick” and finished the very obvious Brand New reference, but that’s not my style. Okay, I’m lying. I’m only in it for the pun. However, this has nothing to do with Brand New specifically and everything to do with every other artist in the world. There is something that I need to know about all of you.

In what format do you listen to music?

All of us listen to music digitally. Whether you’re working out, riding the bus or making a sweet mix for your significant other, you’re listening to digital files. This is by and large the most common format. Since the early 2000s and the introduction of file-sharing, iTunes, and other digital music services, the digital format has taken over CDs.

Even so, CDs are arguably the second most common format. They were first made available in the 1980s, near the end of the vinyl era and during the cassette era. Due to the rise of the compact discs, vinyl essentially died out for the time being. Cassettes always played second fiddle to vinyl later the CD. I have a friend that has a CD collection. I give him major kudos for sticking with a format on the decline.

The vinyl record has had an interesting life. This format defines longevity, although that couldn’t save it initially. Vinyl fell victim to the compact disc’s rise to prominence in the late 80s. However, with the recently formed Record Store Day – my favorite day of  the year – the interest in vinyl has started to revive. I prefer digital when I’m on the go because I’m not going to walk around with a CD Player, but I prefer vinyl when I’m stationary. The sound quality is better (if the record is well taken care of). Let my 117 records and counting speak for my love of and addiction to vinyl.

I’ve discussed digital, CDs, and vinyl. That leaves us with cassettes. This format was popular for a couple of decades. My dad has a lot of cassettes. Then, like vinyl, the cassette fell away. It didn’t garner much interest anymore. Much like the vinyl revival but to a far lesser extent, the cassette is getting its second wind. The Milwaukee-based band Estates released their most recent EP on cassette, and other bands have done the same thing. It’s coming back…maybe.

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