I wasn’t the first to the checkout lane with an mp3 player. I am a music hoarder and therefore loved the idea, but when they broke on the scene I was a poor college student and there simply wasn’t enough money in the beer fund to buy the pricey gadgets that let you put 200 (!) songs on one CD. Then graduation day came and a generous Aunt and Uncle later, I was rocking the Rio Volt SP100. I was in hog heaven.
I hit the eurail that summer, Volt in hand, and there were near fisticuffs with my traveling companions over this player that today can be had at Walmart for $20. Why? Well, on the train, there isn’t a lot to do (at least not in 2001). Music can get you through a lot of boring and confining moments on overnight hauls. But the macro concept there was the fact that you got to take your music with you.
Portable music libraries entered the consumers mind with the walkman in the 80’s, but it wasn’t until the mp3 player that your music fit in your pocket. There wasn’t a bulky shoebox of tapes or Case Logic book of CD’s that had to be toted along with your gadget. Your gadget now WAS your music! Most excellent.
We’ve recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the mp3 player and I am seven years removed from my Rio delight. I am happy to report that the music industry might finally have figured out how to interact with consumers on the digital playing field.