This evening, I had what seemed like an inexplicable urge out of nowhere to go to a brick-and-mortar record store. It's something I'd done maybe half a dozen times in as many years. I can remember times in my life when I would go almost daily, having grown up two blocks from Bayshore Mall. I have a new interest in a "new" (to me) old group, Supertramp. I walked out of the East Side's Exclusive Company with two Supertramp CDs and the latest Alanis Morrissette release for about 26 bucks. CDs have vastly come down in price. They started out at a retail price of $16.98 or thereabouts. When the Exclusive Company opened, they offered a slightly lower price of maybe 13 or 14 bucks. When I went to Mainstream next door to buy U2's Achtung Baby around midnight on its release date in mid-November 1991, I might have paid 12 dollars for it. That would be $21.05 in today's money. Would anyone argue that it was worth it?
At the risk of officially becoming an old fart, today's music is worth precisely what most people pay for it--nothing. It's just part of the wall of noise that accompanies everyday life. There are some current acts I like, but they're mostly heavily derivative. Coldplay. Sarah McLachlan--already kind of on the brink of being a legacy act. Ditto Alanis Morrissette, who is more of a rare guilty pleasure for me. If heavily synthesized cotton candy isn't my thing, I suppose I can buy the CD with the guy who looks like he's straining particularly hard while seated on the throne.