Music Mules a.k.a.The Hybrid Music Consumer

Written By: Francy

I’m not big on hybrids.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if I want to take a photograph, I use a real camera, thank you very much, not a high-tech nifty camera-phone contraption. With the exception of being able to send fleeting, pointless pics to Twitter now and then, those fuzzy little after-thought camera-functions are useless to me.

Another hybrid I’m not into? The mule. I don’t get it. Donkeys are strong. Horses are fast. Mules are both? Neither? Who knows? I rest my case. Hybrid cars are pretty fantastic. But I can’t afford them, so they don’t count.

There is one hybrid trend that I am a part of though: The hybrid music consumer.

Let me break it down. Some music fans swear by iTunes (and other digital music retailers). It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s convenient, it’s trendy. Others are trying (perhaps in vain) to keep the compact disc alive. They buy their music in retail stores because they crave that nostalgic tangibility of cracking open the case, holding that cold, crisp reflective disc of magic, flipping through the artwork and reading those microscopic lyrics. Those who start frequenting iTunes (and the like) usually stop buying CDs altogether. And most people who still buy CDs tend to get tragically intimidated when you start saying words like mp3 or iPod in their vicinity. As you read this, you may be thinking: “I’m an iTunes guy!” or “I’m totally Miss Retail Store.”

It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi. Playstation vs. Nintendo. David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar!

But I belong to a different group. I’m a hybrid. If I’m online and want to do some music shopping, iTunes is only a click away. I download it, dump it on the trusty iPod and plug it into the auxiliary input on the car stereo. If I’m at the mall and see the shimmer and shine of a record store, I’ll spend $40 in a heartbeat. I’m able to add a couple CD cases width to my music collection and it’s easy enough to rip the music onto my hard drive. Fantastic.

There are also those who download music without paying for it and others who stream it online at sites like ProjectPlaylist.com, MySpace or even YouTube. If you belong to those groups, you should know that record companies hate you because you’re not giving them your money. Hurray!

Where do you buy your music? Do you swear by iTunes? Or do you crave that frustrating but ultimately satisfying struggle with the sticky CD wrapper? Or are you like me – Content to buy music however it happens to be available?

I think this makes me a mule.

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