In the Opinion section of the New York Times, Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson responds to an article written about the sound quality of music today taking a backseat to availability with a letter to the editor.
Writes Wilson, “In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back” (Business Day, May 10), about the degradation of sound quality in the MP3 era, touches on a central concern for musicians like me, who feel that a song’s chief virtue should not be its ease of portability. There is an art to listening to music, and the move to jukebox-style delivery of songs in MP3 form has largely compromised that art for a generation of fans.
I remember listening to music on vinyl, poring over the sleeve, looking at the lyric sheet, even following the needle across the record.
There was something in that magical, romantic, tactile relationship with the album that has been lost by the reduction of music to content.
Music is not software; music is art. But I’ve been encouraged by the growing revolt against that iPod culture and playlist mentality.
Kids at shows come up to me to have me sign their vinyl.
They want to feel as if they’re buying into something they can cherish and feel a part of. And you simply can’t do that downloading a few files."
London, May 11, 2010