It's not often that you can read a blog post and feel anything other than spiritually and intellectually enriched. In fact even that is extremely unlikely within these meagre portals. However, if you keep reading this particular post I promise to make you several hundred, if not thousand, pounds better off. Honestly!.
Like most Baby Boomers my teenage years were spent developing an acute awareness of the value of music. A single 45rpm disc cost 6 shillings and eight pence and a vinyl LP £1-17-6d, which for modern readers equates to around 33p and £1.75 respectively. That probably doesn't sound much to you but in terms of the number of weeks delivering meat for the butcher on a Saturday morning to the cost of a lovely, shiny, cellophane smelling gorgeously beautiful Shadows' album it was an extremely highly-geared ratio at which even Sir Fred Goodwin would baulk.
Because of this relatively high real cost, music was something one was conditioned to want to possess, to own exclusively. It wasn't as readily available on the Radio (unless you could take it heavily watered down by Danny Kaye and Burl Ives) and to buy a lovely new LP was a rare and gratifying experience.
The music industry played the same trick on my generation in the 80's when we were all persuaded to gradually re-buy our entire music collections at £12.95 per album in the form of Compact Discs - some people even re-purchased them in Compact Cassettes in the 1970's for their cars. We didn't really mind that we were paying for Mickie Most's second private aircraft of Mike Oldfield's home in Ibetha, we had shelf loads of physical music with iconic outer covers that were imbued in the national consciousness.
Then along came the Internet.
Current generations see music as a small file name on their computer or phone with a maximum value of 79 pence but very often as a resource that one simply downloads free (they would say "for free") from file sharing sites. They think nothing of spending £40 a throw to go and see Coldplay but have the album on their Ipod for virtually zilch.
It has taken me a while to overcome my nurtured desire to possess physical albums of music and I have always steered well clear of "free" music downloads - probably more to do with my historic inflated sense of music's inherent "cost" than any particular adverseness to the slightly illegal aspect. But now all my old CD's are stacked in the back of an upstairs cupboard and I'm beginning to treat it in a much more free and easy fashion.
The latest step in this path is the one which will save you a small fortune and which has occupied far too much of my time for the last couple of days. It's the web site http://www.spotify.com/ which is basically a "streaming" music service - you fill in a form to create a free account, download their small player software and suddenly have access to just about every track you ever wanted for nothing. Yes, that's right, nothing. The only "cost" is that you have to listen to a music ad every half hour but that's hardly a trial.
I'm currently digging into deep and long-lost corners of Richard Thompson's back catalogue whilst snapping up single tracks of this and that which I've always fancied but never enough to buy whole albums for a tenner or so. I'm building the most eclectic of playlists with Laura Marling rubbing shoulders with The Lovin' Spoonful and Justin Timberlake and Primal Scream proving serendipitous bedfellows. This is cloud computing at its most Cumulo Nimbus, so get yourself over their and start building your own crazy playlists pronto!
If you jumped straight to this sentence to save the money without reading my blog post - tough titty! There's no such thing as a free lunch.