Monday, June 25, 2007

Put another dime in the MP3 player, baby

Back when I was in graduate school one of the bars we used to frequent had this fantastic jukebox, full of old blues and R&B. The music help set the laid-back mood. That's the beauty of the jukebox. You take one look, and you can tell if you are in a serious Irish bar or a country western bar. That's why I find it kind of sad that so many local joints are getting rid of their CDs and replacing them with touch-screen MP3 players.

Yes, the players carry almost any song you might be in the mood for, from Sinatra to the latest pop song. The problem is that the massive music libraries have no personality. Maybe most of the crowd likes classic rock from the 70s, but a single dude with a dollar (no dime machines these days) can change the atmosphere completely by selecting the latest Justin Timberlake hit. It's not that I don't like different kinds of music. It's that I like to hang out places with a point of view.

Or maybe I'm just getting old.

(I Googled "I Love Rock n' Roll" and learned, to my horror, that the song was remade as a hip-hopish pop song by Britney "look at me look at me look at me" Spears. Ugh!)

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Blogger Doug Skinner said...

You are absolutely right, but I don't think that is mp3s that have diluted the music. You can easily have a great collection of tunes on the mp3 player, but if big music companies continue down their current track the music coming out of this era will sound no different than that out of the 80s....Music has lost its soul.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

A restaurant is like any other themed environment and the music is part of it's story. And if a restaurant owner picks the songs, it's no different then picking whats on the menu.

Of course everything is a chain now with restaurants that look one-of-a-kind, but are owned by Pepsi. Kind of a unique by marketing department, which is how the music would be anyways.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Man, you're upset about CDs leaving -- I miss when records were all the rage. That's my listening choice and I have many. I agree though that it's sad. Jukeboxes make cool corner pubs just that much neater. Getting rid of them takes aways that small comfy feeling. And personally, I don't get the whole MP3 deal -- I can never find a song on my sister's.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

It's not that I don't like MP3s - it's great to have a collection on my laptop. I just think that a place of business - like a bar - should set the mood by selecting the music that's available.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Loquacious Me said...

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the roller rink (back when the skates had wheels on four corners, not in a line) and skating to "I love Rock and Roll".

Suddenly, I feel old.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Harbormaster said...

Technology moves on through life. I remember how great it was to have eight track tapes and a stereo that fit in the car. Mainstream music maybe diluted, but the internet and mp3's expose us to new venues and artists. It just might be a little harder to dig them out...

8:41 PM  
Anonymous jamie ford said...

I love my iPod. I love MP3s. But I can't go near an MP3 driven juke box. It's just seems like a sad facsimile of what used to be real--real culture, real atmosphere, real grit.

Like going to a pool hall and playing on virtual tables or something.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Kira said...

You are so right about this! Where my husband and I play pool, there's one of these MP3 boxes. Since it's the only non-college-kid pool hall near us, and it's in Fort Worth, the crowd is heavy on the bikers and cowboys.

There's an etiquette about the box. On weekend nights, if some kids show up and play rap or pop, they're treading on slippery ground. The results are interesting to watch - last week one large, heavy, balding biker took offense to a Britney Spears song.

Yay him, I thought.

Oh crap, the kids thought.

So maybe the results are about the same, with or without homogenous boxes.

3:44 PM  

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