The CD is out, digital sales of music are now higher than CD sales for the first time. I look back at 1 of the reasons CD’s had their own charm.
If you are from the CD Generation like myself, then you will be fully aware of hidden tracks on CD’s. In this day and age of digital music (which has its own advantages) the art of the hidden track is dying out. There was a time when a CD used to keep playing passed the end tune to reveal a special nugget that sometimes was an albums jewel. If you buy a digital album, you can see a hidden track a mile off by looking at the duration. If you see a track that is 16 mins long then chances are you have a hidden track coming up, or you are listening to an explosion in the sky record.
Back in the day when a CD was popped into a boombox, some artists would go that extra mile and program their releases to really embed their tracks into their playlist so a hidden track would truly be hidden. In some cases I remember skipping backwards from the first song to find a hidden jem. These tracks would somehow go undetected by CD player’s displays, and unless you knew the trick then you would never hear that hidden track from your favorite band. How kids used to know how to do all this was a another issue, no internet to tell you where the hidden track is on the CD, just some spotty faced kid that had fucked around with the CD at home and found a secret.
I don’t really mid that these days are gone, but they did make having a CD really special. I am not going on a nostalgic rant here, I do feel that digital media has its own charms. Firstly there is more music now than ever to choose from, and contrary to popular belief, I feel that there is more good stuff now than there ever has been. Even the charts are better, if you think back to the dark days of 90’s chart music then you will see a whole bunch of manufactured shit but now all the manufactured nonsense is out in the open, with the xfactor and such, pulling back the curtain and pointing out the whole deal and if you want to listen to it then go ahead but there is also more depth out there. People can make music in their own rooms and with the rise of sharing and the easy manipulation of digital music, more stuff is coming though and as such it takes more skill to get heard, rather than knowing the right chode to get on to get a record deal.
The CD generation was a time where packaging a product was a huge part of music, smelling the booklet, reading the production notes and finding hidden tracks where all experiences that have been replaced. I am sure that digital releases will find their USP sometime and when the next phase comes in, I will write a blog addressing how I miss the digital media days.