I’ve been listening to the new U2 album – it’s all over the net – and my initial reaction isn’t good: so far, nothing other than Vertigo has particularly grabbed me. Which got me thinking… is there an effect to file sharing that people haven’t really paid attention to?
Whenever I used to buy CDs, I’d sit and listen to them again and again and again. Typically albums were “growers”, and it’d take a while to get into them. But with file sharing, I’ve found I’m much less willing to give a record time to grow. That’s probably because the ritual of record buying – anticipation before the release date, the trip to the record shop, the trip home reading the sleeve notes and lyrics – is no longer there, and partly because with file sharing there’s no financial incentive to persevere. It didn’t cost you anything, so why spend hours waiting for it to grow on you?
And that’s how I feel about the new U2 album, but I suspect that’s a bad thing. I hated every single track on their last record, but since then about half of the album has really grown on me and a few songs are regular visitors to my iPod playlist. This time out I’m equally unimpressed, so I probably won’t buy the record. But if the last few albums are anything to go by, I’ll probably end up loving at least some of the tracks.
I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of other net users: when you use file sharing to preview tracks – something I’m entirely in favour of – do you give new records the same investment that you do when you’ve shelled out hard-earned cash on a CD? I’m all ears…