The digital times, they are a-changin’


Pretty soon, it’s possible music will only be available on a computer.

First Zeus and CD Plus, two popular CD and DVD retail stores located in Regina, closed down, and Blockbuster Video will likely soon follow. Movie and music chains across Canada are progressively shutting down due to the surge of online downloads. Although I have not truly been this disappointed to hear such dreadful news since Noel Gallagher left Oasis, as a movie and music collector, this is the first step in what seems to be a change to modern-day technology. 

According to Apple, in 2004, iTunes sold approximately 100-million songs, five-billion songs in 2008 and, in 2010, over 10-billion songs were purchased. Including iTunes, Torrents, YouTube and other bit clients. Obviously, downloading music and movies off of the internet is the easiest way to obtain a recent release.

That being said, am I the only one who actually enjoys feeling the true ownership of physically buying the hard copy of an album or DVD? Yes, I do own an iTunes account and buy songs and movies on a regular basis. But, there is no better feeling than cracking open a new release on its debut day, jamming to it in your car on the way to school, or completely blowing your parents subwoofers in their house to smithereens via a blue ray player. I suppose you can do that with digital downloads and technology these days, but the collecting feeling is truly irreplaceable.

Now, because digital downloads have gone up and retail music and movie stores are closing across Canada, some mainstream musicians are doing their best to offer fans the opportunity to buy the hard copy of their recent release. A majority of mainstream artists offer either a direct digital download or present the buyer with the opportunity to buy the hard copy through their online shop. 

Also, there are some stores that have what they like to call an “entertainment section” still available, but who’s to say what their already watered-down selection will look like in five years? I mean, it took Apple five years, when they sold their billionth song in 2006, to multiply that figure by ten.

Movies have always been reasonably accessible for years – TBS’ Dinner and a Movie, anyone? It was just a matter of waiting for your favorite show to be aired. Today, you could literally sit on your couch half naked – or fully, whatever floats your boat –  and watch a movie on Netflix with the click of a mouse. Or, you could change your television’s channel to Movie Central and simply rent a show with your TV remote. Movies, for the longest time in my life particularly, have always been quite easy to get. 

What irks me the most is I fear Blockbuster’s future removal is going to set the tone of what’s to possibly come in the future. Clearly the whole thrill of walking into a store and renting a movie has left our society, seeing as these stores are shutting down. If we can subscribe to a program for eight bucks a month and get unlimited movies, why not? But, I imagine that still won’t stop DVD buffs from buying blue rays or standard DVD discs.

I guesss it’s a collector’s thing. Hell, I have yet to see a special-edition, extended-bonus feature, behind-the-scenes, all-access, movie stream on the Internet. Nor has any song downloaded ever sounded so clean and pure than the actual disc it was recorded on.  It’s a struggle collectors are going to have to face, because whether we like it or not, the digital media revolution isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Colton Hordichuk

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