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Excellent column by Steven Hyden about … something

April 26, 2013

This is “What’s Making Me Happy This Week,” a weekly feature inspired by the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

What’s Making Me Happy This Week is column that appeared on Grantland Tuesday, written by Steven Hyden, called “Looking at Record Store Day and the 10-Year Anniversary of iTunes.” Hyden begins his column by making a point almost exactly like the one I made one day prior – he believes in the principle of Record Store Day but isn’t happy about the naked cash grab that it has become in practice. There is a footnote he adds to this indicating how closely aligned Hyden and I are on this subject:

I should also note that my support of Record Store Day is now purely symbolic. It’s actually the one day I don’t like going to record stores. I just can’t handle the crowds. When it comes to record stores, I’m a serious drinker, and Record Store Day is New Year’s Eve.

You may recall that I specifically went on a record store tour of my own on Sunday (see “My Own Personal Record Store Day”), “Canadian Record Store Day” (come on people, this has to stick!), and had a delightful time picking up some choice vinyl. It’s fun to read a rock journalist and vinyl enthusiast like Hyden share my perspective.

The rest of Hyden’s column wanders all over the place, as his point veers from RSD to the growth of digital music sales to the ubiquity of the iPod to the death of the iPod to the growth of streaming music services to the question about what it means to “own” music to the beauty of owning vinyl to the eventual inevitable nostalgia for mp3s. Whew. Did that confuse you? Me too. I can’t decide what exactly Hyden thinks about the current state or future of music – is vinyl the future? are digital files dead? – or why this is all couched in his feelings about RSD and the 10th anniversary of iTunes, which ostensibly are the column’s two main themes. In other words, it sounds just like almost every column I write here on 2bitmonkey!

Hyden has so much to say about music – not just in the auditory sense but what music is and means as a cultural presence in our lives – that he can’t possibly distill it into a single thesis in a random Tuesday morning column. Record Store Day makes him think about how he shops for music which makes him think about iTunes which makes him think about Spotify which makes him think about ownership which brings him back to vinyl. It’s a 21st century hypertext way of thinking and writing … and it works. At least it does for me. Glad to see someone else I enjoy reading and that is published in a prominent space is doing it too.

And That’s What’s Making Me Happy This Week.

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