@gurdonark I love the story about Bowie and Eno recording “Heroes” in Berlin – recorded in a hall in which Eno set up a series of gated microphones at increasing distance. Each microphone filtered through its own effects, you can hear the way the song starts quietly, with very little distortion or echo, but by the end of the song, when Bowie is singing to the back of the hall, his voice is completely changed.
I use this analogy to describe the process of discovery. The first step is when you hear someone mention something you haven’t heard, you see it in an audioscrobble; when the name or song comes up a third time, you download it, or find it on a mixtape (um torrent); you come across a live performance, or better yet, have an opportunity to see the performer live; by this point the mixtape has fallen apart, or your iPod has died. You download the artist’s back catalogue, and it costs you $20, and it’s worth it. It is at this point that you likely notice the artwork.
Conceptually, this process has not changed, but I do miss going down to a record store and buying a record because I liked the album cover, or browsing through my older brother’s Dire Straits and Pink Floyd records for the same reason. Not sure if the times have changed or if I have in this respect, though.