image-nl-record-red-centerJo Ann Post, Business Development and Marketing Manager, reflects through the years and shares her fondest memories of growing up with music and how technology has changed the way we were.

Those were the days my friend, it seemed they’d never end…

Music has a way of taking us back in time. It can trigger nostalgic memories and feelings of a certain person or place as if it were yesterday. Through the years, technology has significantly revolutionized the experience of music, with each generation having an experience and sound of its own. Let’s look back and reminisce at the way we were!

I come from a day when music was made on vinyl records. A trip to Sam Goody on a Saturday afternoon was routine. Some of my fondest teenage memories were times spent with friends thumbing through racks of albums and reading album covers; searching through 45’s looking for a favorite artist’s new release.

Those were the days when you bought whole albums. Often, this resulted in disappointment. When you got the album home, you realized it wasn’t the technical masterpiece you had hoped it was, but in time the songs grew on you.

Create a playlist? We had no idea what that was. But I guess the concept hasn’t changed much. We had a 45 adaptor that we put in a record to play our favorite songs. The adaptor enabled us to stack five or six 45’s in the order we wanted to hear them!

Portability and Mobility… What did that look like in the 60’s? I think most would agree that the pocket-sized transistor radio was the spark that ignited music-on-the- go! Having your own transistor radio does not seem like much now, but it was a big deal back then. Owning a transistor radio represented freedom and independence. Its popularity coincided with the rise of rock-and-roll. For the first time we could listen to the type of music we liked and enjoy private listening through earplugs.

Moving along to the 70’s… Muscle Cars and 8-track players! Most of us had one of these installed under the dash of our car. Cruising along to the Eagles or Moody Blues and then the annoying track change click in the middle of a song along with countless jams and stretched tapes. The 8-track’s clunky technology offered fast-forward only, no rewind! But soon eight-tracks lost their popularity in favor of cassettes.

You say it’s your birthday? Did you know the cassette tape turned 50 last year? Cassettes have been around since 1962. Originally, cassette tapes were used as a means of dictation, but advances in

the audio quality improved their reputation. Cassettes soon became our format of choice when cruising about.

Yet, cassettes and cassette decks had their share of mechanical issues. I’m sure many of you remember trying to fix tape snarls using a pencil or a finger to slowly coil the black tape back inside the cassette cartridge. How about the countless times the cassette tape self-destructed in your car’s deck and you couldn’t eject it out?

The cassette’s heydays aren’t over yet… Welcome the Walkman. We all exercised our rights and jumped into the Walkman decade, literally! The unveiling of the Walkman coincided with the birth of the aerobics craze. The unique combination of pre-recorded music, portability, and privacy appealed to fitness- conscious Americans who used the Walkman to make their workouts more enjoyable. Studies revealed that the number of people who said they walked for exercise increased during 1987 and 1997.

More ch-ch-ch-changes… In time we said goodbye to cassettes as the compact disc ushered in the digital era of music. The CD has been around for 30 years, but had nothing but heartaches once technologies like the MP3 player and internet radio gained acceptance.

Recent years have brought a tsunami of change to the way we listen to music. Due to the innovation of digital music, downloadable music files, online radio stations, streaming music services, we now have access to a wider variety of music than ever before.

Technology continues to influence the music industry. What does the future hold for the way we listen to music? I suppose, as we watch our music libraries climb the stairway to heaven to reside on a cloud, only time will tell.  For me, no matter what’s in store, just give me that old time rock’n’roll!

First published in our April 2014 IT Radix Resource newsletter