Multi-Format Generation

November 3, 2014 by

Lucy-Record-fan-editMy three-year old daughter, Lucy, and I listened to the Sound of Music soundtrack on vinyl the other afternoon. She has been listening to vinyl and enjoying the cover art since the day she was born. (She’s about 18 months in the photo.) She also has lots of CDs and DVD/BluRays. I recently had the CD player in my car repaired, so now we’re rocking mix discs with play lists culled from my iTunes library. And she listens to music on all kinds of digital devices like smart phones, iPods and tablets. She even has a little toy cassette player. So, no format is dead to her.

It’s mostly in the interest of record companies to kill off formats. The apparent complete demise of one format, giving way to a brand new and different format, presents a great opportunity for labels to resell back catalog. Just put it out again in a “new and improved” format and cash the same checks again. How many times has the Beatles catalog been recycled? The new Capitol “Beatles in Mono” vinyl box set lists on Amazon for $335. (They sound great, by the way. More on this reissue in an upcoming post.)

But now a new generation is growing up in a pleasantly multi-format world. Young teens who are stereotypically always wired into portable digital music are now interested in vinyl LPs. They’re also familiar and comfortable with all kinds of digital disc formats. Some are even digging cassettes.

At a recent family event, I talked records with a young cousin-in-law. She’s a junior in high school and is now collecting vinyl, and has a modest playback rig set up. I told her I had been given a bunch of her dad’s old records and we agreed that I would send them to her for her collection (see the list of titles below). This will be a great classic rock primer for her and may provide a new way to connect with her dad. And the format will be as much of a bridge across the generations as the music will.

So, why does this format thing have to be a “war?” Can’t we all just get along?

Isabel’s dad’s record collection:

Allman Brothers Band – Eat a Peach
Beach Boys – Best Of (Capitol; black rainbow; mono)
Beatles – Meet The (mono)
Beatles – Hard Days Night (United Artists label)
Beatles – White Album
Beatles – Abbey Road
Jeff Beck – Jeff Beck Group
Blackfoot – Strikes!
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears
Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies
Doors – Waiting for the Sun
Doors – Soft Parade
Eagles – On the Border
Firesign Theater – I Think We’re All Bozos on this Bus
George Harrison – George Harrison
Heart – Little Queen
Irish Songs
J Geils Band – Full House Live
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Elton John – Captain Fantastic
KISS – Destroyer
Led Zeppelin – IV
Steve Martin – Wild & Crazy Guy
Paul McCartney – McCartney
Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever
Tom Petty – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
REO Speedwagon – You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tunafish
Bob Seger – The Distance
Bruce Springsteen – Wild, Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill
The Stooges – The Stooges
Traffic – When the Eagle Flies
Van Halen – Van Halen
The Who – Tommy
The Who – Who Are You
Windham Records Sampler
Neil Young – Neil Young
Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps
Vanguard’s Great Bluesmen

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