I recently read an L.A. Times article that noted this fact: For the first time last year, nearly half of all teenagers bought no compact discs. ZERO.
Growing up, every generation goes through the rite of passage of purchasing music with their own money for the first time. We all have a similar story. I combined a week's allowance with some cash from my visiting grandparents, and made my dad drive me to the now-defunct Phar-Mor to purchase my very first cassette tape: Pearl Jam's "Ten". Later that year, I joined Columbia's CD Club ("You can get how many cd's for a penny?") and purchased Boyz II Men's "Cooleyhighharmony". Don't judge me! I was 12!
So without vinyl records, 8 tracks, cassette tapes, cd's...what do future generations have that is special? Jump on the computer and look at some pictures, point and click? Call me a purist, but I like the idea of purchasing a physical item for my money. Sure, it may not be the most convenient way to obtain music. For me though, nothing beats cracking open a new disc and thumbing through the photos, liner notes, lyrics, and track listing.
My son is four months old. When he is old enough to purchase music for the first time, I hope he still has the option to discover it as a tangible medium.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?