Steve Jobs, the man who invented the iPod and ignited the digital music revolution, never listened to MP3s.
Instead, he only listened to vinyl. He felt there was something vacuous about listening to music in a digital form and was surprised at the success of his own product — that so many people had willfully traded quality “for convenience or price.” He had good reason to be skeptical.
Digital doesn’t hold up: Nothing about the way we listen to music these days commands attention like or yields the quality of a physical record. Though there is a movement back towards vinyl, there’s an even bigger movement towards streaming — and with it, a whole new paradigm for how we hear music.
But it’s clearer than ever before that the digital revolution has changed not only how we consume music but what music can do for and to us. Expert scientists have begun to explore the possibility that listening online might totally neuter music’s power over listeners.
Their conclusion? It does. Powerfully.