Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Marshall McLuhan once famously stated " The medium is the message " . Meaning that no matter what the content was, it was how it was delivered that made the statement. Here's a personal experience to support that theory.
It concerns the Pink Floyd album " Dark side of the moon " & the part it played in my record collection as it mutated across various mediums.

I first purchased it as I suspect many did in the early seventies, its format then was as circular piece of vinyl 12" in diameter (younger readers might want to Google this for an explanation ) that came in a gatefold sleeve.
The inner sleeve contained the lyrics to all the songs along with numerous credits & thanks to all involved.
Inside the sleeve along with the record came 2 large colour posters, 2 postcard size stickers & 2 postcards.
Not bad for an album that by that time had spent years in the popular charts.

A year or so later after loaning this to a fellow musician I never saw it again. My next experience of the album was as an audio cassette (that's an old analogue recording process utilising ferrous tape, again I refer younger readers to Google ) It came as a plastic box measuring 2.5 inches by 4.25 inches. The sleeve contained cover art & a track listing as well as the record company copyright. It cost the same as my original vinyl album but without lyrics & giveaways. I played this until the arrival of digital audio & compact discs. So I bought a third version, slightly larger case, this time with the original artwork but no give aways & twice the price of my cassette.
I lost this version of the album when my home was burgled & my studio along with all my music was stolen ( An incident that contributed to our decision to depart for New Zealand ).

So: Three versions of the same product, three different mediums. Here is the important part; three revenue streams for the record company & the artist involved. When I next want to listen to this music, I will download it for free from the Internet. I know this is illegal,as a musician I understand the implications more than most, but after purchasing the same songs three times, I really am deaf to the protests of the music industry. I am sure you could all look at your collections of movies or music & find at least one thing you have paid twice or three times for. My experience is not isolated, just look at the scrapyard of media filled with, Betamax, 8 track, Video cassettes, laser disc, soon to be joined by Compact Disc & DVD.

The medium is the message & the message is, pay to play, pay to play again & again & again .......

Listening to :

Living Colour
Bill Nelson
Heat Distance

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