You know I’m bad, I’m bad, you know it
Part of what’s fueling the growth of iTunes is its rapid expansion into worldwide markets. Music, for example, is currently found in 119 countries with a catalog of 35 million songs.
So this is gonna be another departure. This is really about how weird the world has become.
I’m gonna take you in the way back machine. Way back to the year 2000. Things were crazy. We had the Y2K scare, we had George W. Bush becoming president, we had N’Sync and Britney Spears… it was weird man.
We also had a problem. It was a pain in the ass to access music. You were really limited to the radio or any music that you could buy at the local record store. In our case that was Wherehouse Music .
What really got me thinking about this was my subscription to Apple Music. On my way to work this morning, I decided that I wanted to listen to Midtown’s “Save the World, Lose the Girl”. This is one of those albums that I had constantly heard about, but it took me 6 months to track it down. I loved it. It was one of my favorite albums that I owned. There were no songs I didn’t like.
But here’s the question: how much of that was that it took me 6 months to track it down? How much of that was the amount of work it took for me to find that CD?
So this leads me to, as is often to the case, to a story. This is a story about trying to find Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album.
My buddy Keith and I, on a random Sunday during our high school days, decided that we really needed to listen to the “Bad” album. So, at about 6 PM on a Sunday, we headed to The Wherehouse to pick up a copy of the CD.
The didn’t have a copy. They were apologetic, but also a little judgy. Essentially trying to describe why they didn’t have it, while giving us the, “How dare you not already posses such a seminal album” look.
Granted, they were snooty music store employees, wishing and hoping that they could turn their employment into one day that was half as awesome as Empire Records (don’t tell me you haven’t seen Empire Records. Just stop it. Stop reading this post and go watch Empire Records. I’ll Wait… No really, I will. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Records-Anthony-Lapaglia/dp/B000NV0QG4 ).
So, not completely downtrodden, but still feeling sullen, we moved on.
The next step was obviously: Kmart. Now I know that this is going to shock you, but Kmart did not have a great music section. Granted, they did have some pretty good options. For instance, they had the entire R.E.M. catalog. Which is totally awesome. But, still. Not what we were looking for. They might have had some good options, but fucking hell man. We just wanted the “Bad” album.
At this point, it’s 7:15 (ish) PM. On a Sunday. And man. It felt like shit that we couldn’t get this stupid album. It’s seriously one of the highest grossing albums of all time, and there is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to get it.
We had one last hope: Walmart.
That’s right. Walmart. So we drove the 20 minutes to Walmart, to go rummaging through their cluster fuck of a music section to see what we could find. Again, we found a lot of gems, mainly in the form of random Aerosmith CDs. But again… no “Bad” album.
So at this point it’s 8 PM on a Sunday. We were calling other places that might have CDs and you know what happened? Every place we called was either in the process of closing or they didn’t have a copy of the “Bad” album.
Alright now, why am I telling you this? Because if I wanted to… I could listen to the “Bad” album right this second for free because of my Apple Music account:
So what’s my point here? It’s this: how on earth do I describe this experience to my kids? I mean, this is just an insane difference between my time as a kid and what’s going on now. We spent hours and days tracking this thing down, and now it’s just “how long does it take to type ‘Michael Jackson’?”
I don’t know what the lesson or point is here. It’s just that, at the time this was a really important moment. It was a codification of my friendship with Keith (which already was a solid ‘YOU ROCK’ ‘NO YOU ROCK’ kinda friendship). It was one of those “well, we can use this as a story forever” kind of day.
But now I look back and think… wow. That just is such a random ass event that is completely incompatible with our current societal norm.
I wish I had a better point, but really, that’s it.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll come up with something more edifying and important. But for now I’ll just leave you with this: