Tag Archives: Blue Amberola

Consumable Media: Past and Present

In case you haven’t noticed. We’ve come a long way in the last 100 years.

This is an Edison Blue Amberol record from 1914. It’s a recording of ‘Toots Paka’s Hawaiians” singing Aloha ‘Oe. Each cylinder is a molded plaster core covered in the trademark blue celluloid. Similar to later records, grooves in the celluloid were read by a needle and walah! Amplification! Each Blue Amberol held about 4 minutes of music, basically one “track”. One cylinder one song.

Let’s think about that now.

In my iPod Touch, I can hold up too 1750 songs. And play movies, and games, and know exactly when my new Facebook status gets a “like.” Oooooh… Anyway, I’m not trying to be an Apple fanboy. In fact, holding these two things on opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum, I feel sad. Seems like these days, we think of music as little bits of nothing to put next to our “iFart” and “Zippo Lighter” apps. boo! But then again, music is infinitely more accessible to the masses than it was in the early twentieth century. In 1915, a Blue Amberol player, called an “Amberola,” would cost you between $30.00 and $75.00, that’s the equivalent of $630.00 to $1570.00 in modern currency. You don’t need to be incredibly rich to have cd player in your car or even an mp3 player. Music is pretty much available in a consumable form to anyone who wants it. (Case in point: Pirate Bay) So it seems we have a  tradeoff. The question is, which one is better?

On a more update-ish note, I am off to Hawaii tomorrow! Living in Colorado for the last 9 months has been a fantastic experience and I am so grateful for the time with my family! More on that story later though…

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