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Roll Over Beethoven

Now that we're heading forward into the realm of song-by-song distribution, it's actually a souped-up return to the days of the single -- not that I'm sharing an observation that hasn't been made before. The difference now is that we "remember when" albums trumped most singles.

I ought to be happy about this. With a powerful computer, I should just transfer all my music -- CDs and vinyl -- to the machine and go iTunes-crazy. This would free up plenty of space in the apartment, opening up space for a set of sweet speakers.

Then again, figuring out where to store my albums is a problem that I think I want to have.

My Music, My DNA

For someone else's self-indulgent take on the Internet's effects on music, check out this essay by Michael Crowley in the New Republic. Crowley writes about how the Internet is contributing to the death of the rock snob:

"'Oh my God, where did you find this?' are a Rock Snob's favorite words to hear. His highest calling is the creation of lovingly compiled mix CDs designed to dazzle their recipients with a blend of erudition, obscurity, and pure melodic dolomite. ... In some ways, then, the iPod revolution is a Rock Snob's dream. Now, nearly all rock music is easily and almost instantly attainable, either via our friends' computers or through online file-sharing networks. ... But there's a dark side to the iPod era. Snobbery subsists on exclusivity. And the ownership of a huge and eclectic music collection has become ordinary."

Crowley suggests that the easy swapping afforded by online music has created "musical parasites." He cites the example of a friend of "middling taste" who availed himself of Crowley's library, as well as this anecdote about his ex-girlfriend: "She promptly plugged [her iPod] into my computer and was soon holding in her hand a duplicate version of my 5,000-song library--a library that had taken some 20 years, thousands of dollars, and about as many hours to accumulate. She'd downloaded it all within five minutes. And, a few months later, she was gone, taking my intimate musical DNA with her."

Talk about your Bittersweet Symphony!

Dead Trees Still Beat the 'Net

Like many people these days, I conducted my apartment search entirely online, but a New York Times essay informs us that some of the best deals can be found only in the newspaper.

Alexandra Bandon chronicles her experience with brokers on her search for a Greenwich Village townhouse with one bedroom and a separate kitchen. It had to be west of Seventh Avenue and between 10th and 13th Streets, and for $2,600 a month or less. It sounds expensive, I know, but this is what the headline aptly described as a Holy Grail scenario.

In her profile of the different kinds of apartment brokers, she found out this interesting fact from "Veteran" broker Michael Marino: "His ad, it turns out, had appeared only in the paper, not online. Michael said he's old-fashioned and thinks people who are looking for an apartment will check the paper first, so it's not worth paying extra to put the ad online. Once I started reading the classifieds in print, I realized that a lot of Veterans followed this logic, and that I'd been missing quite a few listings by searching only online."

This isn't what I was hoping to read on my second day in the new pad.

No More Blind Dates

Newspapers may be the secret treasure trove of choice Manhattan apartments, but they can't match the Internet when it comes to making the blind date a thing of the past. A Gannett News Service article says that using the Internet to research your upcoming date is now more often the norm than the exception.

Teenagers and twentysomethings "want to see everything from a potential date's picture to his or her credit history. Love might be many things, but with the Web, blind doesn't have to be one of them. 'Technological improvements made possible another way of imagining human relationships,' says Sorin Matei, a communications assistant professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. 'Before, dating was the product of fate, luck and the quest for romance.' ... That's not necessarily a good thing, says Kathleen McNerney of Cincinnati. She says it's 'creepy' to know little details about a person before a first date. 'Our culture is always seeking control, and we want to be in control of the situation,' she says. 'We don't want to trust someone blindly.'"

It might be creepy to know those little details from the get-go, but when did having control of such a potentially intimate situation become a bad thing?

Send links and comments to robertDOTmacmillanATwashingtonpost.com.


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