Every few years, an advance in technology comes along that renders the previous technology worthless. It has happened countless
times. First the Steam Engine came along and was the mode of transportation for millions of people. Then, cars and airplanes
came along and fewer and fewer people chose to travel by train.
Later on, the telegraph came along and was a relatively quick and easy way for people to communicate over long distances.
Then the telephone was developed and no one had use for the telegraph anymore.
Same with VCRs. Every family in America had a VCR and then DVDs and DVD players came along and make it pointless to have a
VCR that played VHS tapes.
Well, it has happened again. The mp3 player came out in the late 1990’s and has since become the primary way that music
enthusiasts listen to their music. Records were the big deal for a long time, and then came along 8-track tapes, cassettes
and finally compact discs were all of the rage before mp3 players came along. Now, people are primarily downloading their
music from online music retailers instead of purchasing compact discs or tapes in stores.
However, like with new technology, mp3 players continue to outshine any other form of music storage. Mp3 players play music
seamlessly and do not skip like CD players and cannot scratch like records or break apart like cassettes. So yes, overall,
records, cassettes and CDs are simply artifacts in the music world and more and more people will continue to convert to
mp3 players until it is the only way that people get their music. Some people still collect records and many companies
still release records and tapes but they are really hard to find, just like a good artifact.
What will be the next type of technology that will turn in to artifacts when something else comes along? Well, for
starters, traditional commercials will be artifacts of the past as the TiVO continues to grow in popularity. Regular
televisions will become artifacts as people move to flat screen digital sets. More than likely, DVDs will eventually move
into the artifact category when some other type of movie device is adopted by the general public.
It is the natural evolution of society and the world. Yes, we can mourn the loss of the records and tapes, but we know that
we have mp3s which rival everything else in quality and delivery ease. We can embrace the past and remember yesterday with
tears in our eyes, but the fact of the matter is, we need to evolve to continue to make new and exciting products that we
want to buy and be a part of. We need that in our consumption-obsessed culture.
So say good bye to the record, the cassette and the compact disc. They are all artifacts now. Say hello to the future of
music with a good set of tunes and a good mp3 player.