Back when I was in college, your music collection, shown by your record albums, helped define who you were. It may be the same today with one's iPod for those who are at the point where self definition is a major focus. But today you are defining yourself in bits and pieces, rather than by entire albums. The New Times recently noted sales of single songs, in digital format, are now reaching record heights, up 54% this year.(The Album, A Commodity in Disfavor)
No one who likes listening to music can deny that it is fun to collect, in whatever format. One article I read started with the opening sentence that human beings must be hard wired to collect music, so diligent have we been over the years, moving from 45s to albums to reel to reel to CDs and then mp3s. In the hurry to collect, we may forget to think about and make known our preference for keeping our options open on how music will be presented in the future.
There are important policy issues involved in the delivery of music. Copyright and the illegal downloading of mp3s has gotten the most attention, but this is far from the only policy issue presented. One group that has played a key role in attempting to influence policy and make known the variety of policy/legal issues affecting the creation and delivery of music is The Future of Music Coalition .A recent article on their web site describes a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" that "could directly increase how much chamber music, jazz, vocal, world, and community arts we hear on the radio." The article discusses how this spring the FCC will give away hundreds of full power non-commercial educational licenses. Schools and their advocates would do well to at least check out this web page from time to time to catch up on the latest.