/ Does it matter that books and music are less visible?
Proper Friday afternoon musing ahoy. Just looking at Captain Gear's photo of his new homemade rucksack and noticed the stack of CDs in the background. I've also just had to clear half the bookshelves in the room I'm in at the moment, so that's got me thinking too...
Do you think it makes any difference to how we think about/listen to/read books and music, if they're in electronic format rather than on shelves in front of us with nice eyecatching colours?
(For what it's worth, my CDs are all in a big storage file and in my car after having been burnt to my computer hard drive, and I definitely don't listen to music as much. I haven't gone digital with books yet though.)
I don't think visibility has much effect on me, but I do like to have my music and reading matter accessible. I'm quite happy with having music on the computer - makes it more accessible. But I don't/can't read stuff on screen - it has to be the real tangible thing.
For me, not at all. I find it vastly more convenient to have media in an accessible digital form. I think it's been years since I last bought a CD...
With books it's less straightforward. I prefer reading on a Kindle (it's more convenient for fiction) but I do like seeing physical books on a shelf. Realistically most of my book purchases these days are electronic for convenience, but I will always make the effort to buy special books in physical form.
So proper books for me, but I will stick with itunes.
I've fully embraced electronic music, I think I've only listened to one CD this year and that was as I was ripping it to disk. I only bought the physical CD because the band in question didn't have a download version.
Books I have yet to fully commit to. I do occasionally buy e-books, but in the main I'm still buying real books, at least in part because I like the way books look on book shelves. Why I think like this about books but not CDs I can't really say.
Maybe it's because for music, you need a device to play it anyway, there's no stand-alone form of music unless you're lucky enough to be able to play an instrument. Whereas a book you can pull out an read anywhere.
Interestingly, this is why I read on a proper Kindle and not a tablet. I find that with a Kindle I never get distracted (it's a *very* focused form of reading, more so IMO than a 'real' book). However, on a tablet it's far too easy to jump into the web browser.
I do the 'flitting' thing with paper books... at last count there were twenty five books by my bed. It's not good...
I'm currently only reading three books, but one of them is "War and Peace" (which I've been dipping in and out of for well over a year now) and the other is "Mary Barton" by Elizabeth Gaskell (which would be amazing if it wasn't so dense and dialect-heavy).
I've actually found that since switching to a Kindle, I have been much more able to resist the urge to flit between different books!
Having recently become a proud owner of a Kindle, I'm not yet sure how this will impact my bookshelves. I have 4.5 floor to ceiling bookshelves full of books - and I like having them around. I haven't fully converted to Kindle because I like reading in the bath and at least once a yaer a book will drop in the bath ao my bath time reading is in paper form.
Music - I'm starting to find CDs clunky-looking and "old". I will burn music from e to CD to listen in the car but that's it. I will keep my CDs of musicals because they are more expensive and harder to come by in some cases and often have the lyrics in the sleeve notes but will soon be getting rid of the rest. Not sure what to do with them though?
I find I listen to music and read more, because all the items I might want are with me wherever I am rather than just at home.
> I'm currently only reading three books, but one of them is "War and Peace" (which I've been dipping in and out of for well over a year now)
I was surprised to really rather enjoy W&P. Took a bit of getting into but it's a true classic.
> I was surprised to really rather enjoy W&P. Took a bit of getting into but it's a true classic.
I feel a little guilty because I think if I gave it the attention it deserved I would get drawn into it as well. I wish I had time for an entire weekend containing nothing but War and Peace! It's not really the sort of novel that lends itself to light occasional reading.
I still buy CDs, but listen to virtually everything digitally. CDs are in a cupboard.
I have a kindle, I buy books for it, but usually cheap and free stuff. Books are very visible in my house, living room is full (3 x 4 shelf units) of coffee table type climbing and photography books. Kitchen has a couple of metres of cookery books and my study has about 20 metres of full book shelves.
I use a Scandisk MP3 player in the car and find I tend to listen to a much smaller range despite having lots of choice on it. Never use burnt stuff in the house. Occasionally move the sofa and peer into the LP cupboard.
Once or twice a week I go onto Youtube and search randomly for live jazz clips, there's loads on there that would be impossible to get on DVD. I suppose I ought to burn this (or at least the audio component) but I don't know how to and don't feel a great urge to find out.
CD's are rubbish, nowhere near as good as 7" and 12" vinyl.
Would you prefer your water coming out of thin air or just stick with the tap?
I like taps.
My vinyl's in the garage but I'm determined to get a turntable this year.
Half of it is just food porn, I just like looking at the pictures.
I'm glad I'm not alone in liking paper books on shelves..bulky, yes, but great to scan along the different colour sand sizes & something will pop-out at you :-).
Have just got an e-book, still getting used to it; i read quickly, so the page size & changing is a bit of a distraction. very convenient, though.
war & Peace (and some other books) I'd probably keep as paper..easy to flick back to check something, reattain the context/names etc. Having said that, I never really got to grips with who was who, so the context was vital! Will be interesting to see how I get on with Dostoevsky & other 'dense' classics.
I really miss vinyl artwork & liner notes; the slight anticipation as you dropped the needle and the crackles blossomed into, er, Motorhead, mainly :-). But now I only play cd's in the car, otherwise it's an ipod in a dock in the kitchen and a hard-drive music thing for the living room & bedroom. Both usually set on random.
I think there is a soft process to scanning books that's difficult to do electronically, especially if you're looking for relevant stuff or inspiration. A bit like Shooting the Past.
Does it matter to me? Damn right it does. I like CDs and records (though the tape player is gathering dust these days). I like playing them. I lament the decline of the album cover. Sure I have an iPod and use it in the car and through an iPod dock at home but the serious listening is done on the old technologies. Reading similarly; I like books. I like my shelves lined with books. I like picking them up and skimming through them, I like their smell, I like that I can still reliably access them without worrying about the state of the battery or whether anyone's pinched my reader.
Advances in technology are all well and good, but I shan't be giving up the old stuff that you can personally interact with anytime soon.
I found with Itunes that I stepped back to the glory days of self-recorded tapes; choosing your own lists,using ones judgement and taste to produce your own music mix. That to me puts you in very close touch with your music!
> CD's are rubbish, nowhere near as good as 7" and 12" vinyl.
> Would you prefer your water coming out of thin air or just stick with the tap?
What a terrible comparison! The water is still the same product, the CD and the vinyl are different in terms of quality.
> My vinyl's in the garage but I'm determined to get a turntable this year.
Funny that this has come up. Buying a turntable has made me return to buying music as a physical product, having virtually given up on buying CDs.
Book-wise, I have an ipad with the kindle app and ibooks but rarely use it. I love books far too much. If I buy a book I can lend it to people - and I have a large book-swapping circle of friends and relatives - but I can't lend an ebook.
> but I can't lend an ebook.
My bestie, Staceyjg, has stocked my Kindle with about 20 books. I intend to return the favour once I start buying books.
I don't feel right if I can't see my books and physically touch them.
There's something very comforting in having a pile of books waiting to be read.
I truly have no desire ever to read a book in a digital format.
It's like drinking fine wine out of a mug - just plain wrong.
I do like my books, but I haven't tried a kindle so I don't know what reading in that form would be like.
I've also been musing recently on whether having endless stacks of books is really just a 'legitimate' form of hoarding?
I think there's some truth in this! There's only so much room in the average house, after all.
I've also noticed that, although I used to collect books because I liked their design or just how they look (and then never read them), this never happens with ebooks. Ebooks are purely for reading--they're utilitarian and unpretentious.
That said, I would never say "ebooks are better than physical books". It's so much more nuanced than that and each format has its place.
Now that your music is ripped to your hard drive, what method do you listen to it?
I sometimes listen to CDs on the stereo upstairs, I do listen to CDs in my car, and for the music that's on my computer, I either listen to it on that or stream it via Apple TV to the big sound bar thingy in the sitting room.
Then is it just possible that you have made your digital music less accessible around the house?
Your CD's can be played anywhere on a whim but your MP3's can only be heard sat at the computer or streamed to a single room with the sound bar thingy.
Also how is the state of the metadata/tags of your digital music?
I'm guessing that if you ripped the music from CD's then it will either be non existant or very poorly and randomly structured. This again makes it harder or less convenient to find the exact track, artist or ganre than to pick up a CD and pressing play.
If your digital music was easier/quicker to search and then play where ever you chose throughout the house, would you not choose to play it more?
Hopefully my following suggestions are not trying to teach you how to suck eggs if they are all ready in place, but they have helped me to fully unlock my music potential at home.
First off, you have to comprehensively nail the Tags assossiated with every single MP3 track on your hard drive. And this takes time, but is essential.
Last year Blanchie told me about a bit of software called MP3Tag. This was invaluable to help me get my tags and artwork in order as it automatically fixed them for me, mostly using Amazon's own database to do the work.
Once you think that you have fixed your Tags, go into what ever music software you use and check everything out. Personally I use Windows Media Player. Pay particular attention to any unknown artists or unknown song titles. Find out who they are and get them tagged correctly.
Next and this is the most important of all, sort out the genras. At first you will have a mass jumble of varying descriptive styles. An example would be Brit Pop and Pop. They are both Pop so why have two conflicting tags?
It will only make it more complex to listen to your music.
Once you have your file structure (Tags) organised then you can release the full potential of your music. You can then choose to listen to it how ever you want when the mood takes you. You can listen to a specific artist, album, style of music or even all at random.
This effort can take weeks or months, depending on the size of your collection. But it only has to be done once, correctly, and updated with each new album added to the collection to keep on top of it.
Now you can listen to what ever you want, even quicker that trawlling through a shelf full of CD's.
The next problem is, even though you can select your music effortlessly you are restricted to the locations where you can hear it. You either have to be sat at or near your computer or in the room with the big soundbar. What if you want to listen to your music upstairs?
You need to find ways to stream your music throughout your house, and this can be as expensive or cheap as you wish depending on the kit you have at home. Everybody's setup is different and organic in a way.
My setup revolves around my wireless router and Network Storage Access device. All my music is on the NAS box which does not need the computer to be switched on to be used.
I then have a mixture of wifi speakers and bluetooth speakers of varying shapes and sizes which allow me to listen to my music how and where I please from the garden to the bathroom.
If you have a smartphone with blootooth than you can stream music to that and bang the tunes out on a blootooth speaker. Tesco have some excellent Teknicas for £20.
You mentioned that you have a sterio system upstairs. You could buy a logitech wireless speaker adapter and plug this into your sterio. This would then allow you to stream music from your computer to the sterio upstairs. Its a cheap form of a SONOS as it only costs about £25. A SONOS costs a lot more. :-)
I also have one SONOS speaker, and love it, the only problem is that I wish I could buy more to put around the house as they are so versitile with sound quality good enough for my ears.
SONOS differ from bluetooth as they work through the router and wifi. This means that you can have as many SONOS speakers as you can afford throughout the house all playing in sync or individually.
With bluetooth you can only have one speaker working at a time with one computer. Its the only drawback of bluetooth speakers.
Once you have your tags organised and a method to stream your music around the house as effortessly as a CD then you will listen to it more. And if you can do this, then instead of having the fist full of CD's beside the CD palyer you have your entire catalogue of music to play.
For me, the initial effort was worth it. There is no point hiding away CD's or vynal if your media of choice is not as accessable or harder to use.
Thanks for the thoughts.
Doesn't everyone who uses iTunes just search for artist or album in iTunes? Problem solved!
That's all fair enough, but the main reason why I don't listen to my music so much is that my partner's music is usually playing!
I was more interested in the visibility/invisibility aspect.
> Thanks for the thoughts.
> Doesn't everyone who uses iTunes just search for artist or album in iTunes? Problem solved!
I have a fear of all things apple, and as such have never used iTunes. :-)
Nail your tags and you will most definitely rediscover music that you had forgotten you had. :-)
And if you have a smart-phone and headphones then you can wander through the house at leisure listening to what ever you want without being interrupted by somebody else's music.
No spelling mistooks this time as I'm sat at my computer. :-)
We're a mostly Mac household so the AppleTV can bounce iTunes-based music around to wherever we want - I can listen to my partner's music (held on the iMac downstairs) on my (PC) laptop upstairs, we can send it out to the PowerMac outside, we can play it through the sound bar in the sitting room, I can put it on my iPod and wander round the house listening to it, my partner can stream it to his iPhone and play it through the interface in his car via the iCloud...
Judicious use of 'random' is the best way I've found of rediscovering forgotten music.
I wonder whether this tagging is a similar thing for ebook fans, a way of rediscovering books they'd forgotten, or whether having the books on a shelf to rummage through feels 'easier'.
Again, it all boils down to cataloguing the file structure of your digital music. If the tags are random or non existent then the music may as well be invisible/accessible.
Once the tags/file structure is as accurate and functional as you can make it then all your music becomes visible/accessible again.
I had the same problem with my collection of 18,000 Jpegs. All my pictures were in folders with descriptive names but I did not have a clue what or where each individual picture was or who was in those pictures.
I now have as many tags as possible associated with every single one of those Jpegs.
I have even tagged every single one of my friend's faces using face recognition software.
tagging all my images has been a revelation. Before I had a hard drive full of "one's" and "zero's" where now I can type a few buzz words and get either a specific image or hundreds of specific images to view and share within seconds.
So, rather than trawling through photo albums, which I love, I can locate any or all my 18,000 Jpegs within seconds.
There is no point digitising anything to save space, if that method makes it harder to access and use the things you love. Its just one step removed from giving your stuff away.
Sounds like you do indeed have your music on tap. Maybe a bluetooth speaker dotted around the house, which can hook up to your apple and PC kit will allow you to hear your music sans headphones?
Sadly this rodent is dyslexic and has a fear of all things book-wise that do not have pictures. I read about one book a year, if at all.
Music is a bit different story though. We have both WiFi and Bluetooth linked up between nearly all our various gadgets (Samsung tablet, laptop, HDTV, home theatre system, iPod) which gives us lots of flexibility. I even have a wireless display connection between this laptop and the new HD TV so we didn't need to buy a blu-ray player, I just use this thing and I don't even have to plug it in. Can also play music on here and send it to the home theatre sound system. Still love to play the old vinyl now I've got a turntble again though, beautiful sound1
Also, different mediums have certain qualities and affordances. For example, vinyls often come with extensive album art and maybe information about who played on the album, where it was recorded etc. There's less physical space for it on a CD, and now with digital downloads you get a little 'tile' for the album art and some information about the album if you can be bothered going into the menus to find it. So I guess it depends what else you value apart from the actual content of the medium, which will change from person to person.
> I do like my books, but I haven't tried a kindle so I don't know what reading in that form would be like.
Much prefer electronic format. But I don't consider myself firmly planted in the UK and maintaining the ease to up-sticks and leave, without having to dispose of/ship hundreds of kilos of paper and plastic, is important to me.
I love having all my music and several months reading on me at all times (synced to my phone, ipad, laptop or PC). No matter where I am they are accessible. The downside is that they might all become inaccessible to me at some point, should global apocalypse or digital dictatorship arise. In which case I'd probably have far more pressing concerns anyway.
I must say that the shuffle feature on my i-pod makes me listen to new stuff frequently.
Podcasts of Brit stuff are a blessing when you live in Aus.
As others have suggested, I find myself skipping to fave tracks much more with digital music, especially in the car, where before I would have just listened to a whole CD, maybe just repeating the odd track or skipping the really rubbish ones. Now I tend to skip straight to the "best", at the expense of perfectly good stuff. I need to stop this habit, I guess!
With books, I just can't warm to electronic ones. No logic, just doesn't feel right.
I love physical books - not so fussed by music. have been playing with books on ipad and the thing that annoys is the variety of formats - there really needs to be a single standard.
e-books are ok to read - but I will be buying physical versions of a few books I've bought that way when I see nice editions (sick heart river currently on the second hand bookshop watch list...)
Is the question about having things on shelves in your house, or having them visible to others in public?
The "people on the train can't see what you are reading on Kindle" phenomenon has been well covered of course, but I have not seen much discussion of the "no longer seeing CD cases lying around in someone's car or sticking out of a bag. Bands used to form because one person saw a record or CD associated with someone else that they hadn't met and with whom they therefore were not already going to be discussing mp3 playlists etc...
Once on a bus in Crouch End I saw a nice-looking girl reading "Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate", which is a fairly niche book that I had read. I was tempted to go and pester her and ask if she'd got to the bit where the author watches "Manhattan" en route to sacking Cimino and changes his mind, and who knows, perhaps if I had done, we'd be married now. If she'd been reading a Kindle, I might not have that fantasy to get me through the cold and lonely nights at Straggler Mansions :-)
One of the things I used to do with CDs was to play the same one over and over again, essentially because it was easier than going and changing the CD. I realised that being all digital stopped me doing this as much, and as a result didn't get that really deep relationship with an album that I used to. I deliberately repeat-listen albums now.
As for books, I like to browse friends' bookshelves looking for stuff to borrow. Not sure if you can do that with e-books?
> One of the things I used to do with CDs was to play the same one over and over again, essentially because it was easier than going and changing the CD. I realised that being all digital stopped me doing this as much, and as a result didn't get that really deep relationship with an album that I used to.
100% agreed on that. I in the last few months have taken to putting CDs into the hi-fi and doing just as you described. It is a nice thing. Obviously one can choose to do this, or whatever one wants to do, on a well organised mp3 collection, yet as you observed, we just DON'T.
What has been most interesting to me is that comppared to 15-20 years ago, I no longer skip tracks on CD in the same way...
> I do like my books, but I haven't tried a kindle so I don't know what reading in that form would be like.
For the moment yes. I suspect the internet will fill the gap eventually as a virtual presence and improving displays and utility. Currently (and likely until then) I still use CD's (and even occasionally tape and vinyl) more than music files. It's even more the case for books, I rarely read any fiction online, partly due to the additional issues of: convenience of flicking in a book (to say an appendix); and eyestrain, as I use a computer too much as it is.
Interesting response - I'm amongst the people who could definitely be a bit more particular about the quality of my listening experience, but with books, for me it's about more than black text on an easy background - it's a tactile experience.
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