‘Never seen vinyl’
WN: What do you think of Apple’s adventures in music?
Tong: Apple’s music stuff is so simple to use, just like the Mac. iPods have changed everyone’s life. It doesn’t matter whether you are 7 or 70, everyone wants one. But iTunes libraries are growing so large people are outgrowing hard drive space, and using drag-and-drop to put libraries elsewhere is so archaic. I want a button to make my PowerBook speak to my main iTunes library and consolidate the collection. I get sent tracks all the time on my notebook when I’m on the move.
It’s kind of scary that you can have your entire collection on one or two hard drives. My 25 years of vinyl are in storage. I played a 7-inch vinyl set recently and discovered there are 18-year-olds who have never seen vinyl.
There is genuine concern about how to stop music being passed around for free. Once you take the money out of music, it’s not fair; people (artists, producers, managers and more) can’t get paid.
That bit about vinyl creeps me out; when I was a little kid I had a mickey mouse record player. The needle was held by his arm (you know the one I’m talking about). I don’t miss LPs, with all their hissing, popping, skipping and breaking, however. I always thought Neil Young was crazy for claiming the sound was better. I’m also quite happy about not having to buy whole albums anymore, which brings me to Tong’s comment about the need to get paid.
Basically, I don’t buy it. The argument is that if people don’t get paid, they won’t record anything. I don’t think that’s true. Making music is a deeply human thing to do – just like all of the arts are. And the technology for recording is getting cheaper all of the time. So, no, I think people will continue to make and record music. For fun and for fame, and, baring that, for notoriety. This has already happened with text. I like to write, so here you are – free stuff to read. You will remember me, right? And tell all your friends? I’m not worried about quality falling either because you won’t tell your friends about stuff that isn’t worth bothering about.
At least musicians will always be able to charge fees for live concerts. We scribes are not so fortunate.