The CD is dead, says iTunes 10

What was the first CD you bought? Do you still have it?

When I was abruptly separated from all my possessions–and my home– in the wake of September 11th, I had with me a single CD I had chosen, basically at random, to accompany me on that first day of high school. Of course, I couldn’t have predicted that I’d never see its companions again, or that this small choice would have meant so much. (It was the upbeat, kind of silly and yet soothingly pretty first album by Mythos .) I often wonder what my life would have felt like in those scary and tumultuous weeks, had it been a darker or slower disc: music has such an incredible power to affect emotion.

Only a few weeks later, Apple introduced the first iPod– five gigabytes of music in something the size of a deck of cards. To this day, the purchase of that first iPod in 2001 represents a moment of profound shift– not just for me or for the industry, but for the future of virtually all consumer technology. It is a future that has been guided almost single-handedly by an obsessive, cranky, perfectionistic and virtually unerring marketer: Steve Jobs.

Jobs took the stage yesterday to announce iTunes 10, a release that brings a small but significant change to one of the most recognizable logos in the world. There’s no more CD! Ever eager to abandon technologies they consider “vintage”, Apple has dropped the humble compact disc, and with it, one of the last vestiges of pre-Web technology. Given the runaway success of the iTunes Store, this isn’t surprising– especially since the original purpose of iTunes was to “rip” music from CDs you already owned. In fact, many people already thought the logo was painfully out of date, still clinging to a dying medium.

The replacement logo will certainly have its fans as well as its detractors– I’m still ambivalent about it at the moment. It seems too generic. I will always still miss the beautiful color of the short-lived iTunes 2 logo (oh well). Dropping the CD was a smart move, as it seems it had been preserved mainly for nostalgia. However, iTunes’ positioning as an all-in-one app for buying, syncing and managing apps-music-movies-and-tv still seems at odds with the musical note idea.

Do you still listen to CDs? Do you think Apple is moving too fast? What do you think of the new icon? Let me know in the comments!!

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