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Coming to grips with technology

Country Musings by Robert Loy, July 2006

My feelings about technology are definitely mixed. As a writer, I am profoundly grateful for the internet because it means there's almost nothing I can't research right from my living room, without having to turn off the ballgame in the background and tromp to the library - and maybe even, since I don't live in a major metropolitan area, having to wait days for an inter-library loan, like I sometimes had to do back in the BC (before computers) days.

And as a music aficionado, I love iTunes, and I really love my XM satellite radio. Just when my faith in the endless creative potential of this beloved art form was reaching its lowest ebb and I started to feel like music had become stagnant, these two modern gizmos came along and showed me there was nothing to worry about. There is more great music being made right now than ever before. These are the good old days, but I would never have known it relying on old technology.

So what's the problem? Well, now that I think about it, the problem might be me. Maybe it's because I have not yet evolved to the stage where I no longer long for the tactile. I missed all the great art and design of old LP covers where we were forced to switch to CDs, but I adjusted, albeit reluctantly and curmudgeonly. But now that music is on iPods and hard drives, I can no longer hold it in my hand at all, and I miss that.

And it wasn't that long ago that when I was sent a CD to review, it came with a press kit, an official record company portfolio, which usually contained a bio of the singer and background info on the record, as well as other goodies like 8X10 glossy photos which autograph collectors like me could send off to the artist and get signed. Now we usually get what is called an EPK (Electronic Press Kit), which is basically an extra disc with a brief interview and maybe a music video or two. Kinda cool, I guess, but not much to look at in a scrapbook.

Now that I've thought about it, it looks like the pros of technology outweigh the cons. (But I still can't help feeling that EPK really stands for Electronic Pain in the Keister.)

The views expressed in this column are Robert Loy's and do not necessarily reflect those of CST.