Rapid-Fire: What is the best form of consuming music?

A blue vinyl record playing on turntable. Owen Silverman’s favorite form of consuming music is the vinyl record player. Photo by Elviss Railijs Bitāns/Pexels

If we’re lucky in the Opinion section, we work through our beliefs completely and support them with great arguments. But sometimes, we don’t need a deeper reason to hold our convictions. Rapid Fire is for those tweet-length takes that can be explained in just a sentence or two — no more justification needed.   

In this Rapid Fire, writers discuss the best form of consuming music. 

Harrison Raskin, Opinion Editor: The best form of consuming music is an iPod Nano. These were by far the funniest Apple product because they were no larger than the face of a watch, yet came with a touch screen. They still managed to hold a few gigabytes of songs, and were far cheaper than modern Apple watches. There’s something unforgettable about playing Tetris on a one-inch screen, and being able to hide it so easily in 6th grade class.  

Anika Veeraraghav, Associate Opinion Editor: My favorite form of consuming music was always through CDs. I mean, they’re not as convenient as a streaming service like Spotify — although CDs can’t go offline for hours, creating panic and making you think your account got hacked — but some artists put a lot of extras into the CD versions of their albums. Taylor Swift, for example, had special messages in her CD booklets that my friends and I would enjoy decoding together. Other artists add in posters or something else you can admire while listening to their music. With CDs, you get a full experience with an artist’s music, as well as any special add-ons they decide to throw in. 

Owen Silverman: I think it goes without saying that the superior form of consuming music takes the form of the vinyl record. The culture surrounding them is wonderfully vast and intergenerational, and their recent resurgence has made them more accessible than ever (not to mention they are typically pretty cheap to begin with). Nothing beats that soft crackle  you hear right before your favorite Earth, Wind & Fire or Steely Dan project. Plus, their thin shape allows for easy storage, and record players themselves make for particularly aesthetic decor.  

Keegan Reck: The best form of consuming music is easily a live performance. Nothing beats listening to someone’s raw talent and musical capabilities performed in any setting, universal to all genres. Electronic music has its merits of on-demand convenient music listening, however, it will never compare to the epitome of musical quality experienced by a trained musician in live performance.  

Maddie Papcun, Weekly Columnist: The best form of consuming music is certainly the cassette tape. They hold an irreplaceable novelty and nostalgia in the hearts of many. There is nothing that beats customizing a tangible playlist for somebody, case and all, and then being able to physically hand it to them and see their face light up. Besides, they’re incredibly portable. What’s more is that cassettes aren’t just for old music, as artists today are still releasing their music on cassette for their old-soul fans.  

Nell Srinath, Staff Writer: 

I’ve gotta say the best way to listen to music is by preserving a CD of your favorite artist in amber and using the most cutting edge genetic sequencing techniques to clone your favorite singer or band in the comfort of your own home! It comes with some setbacks, obviously. Sometimes the quality is disrupted by pesky questions like “How did I get here?” or “What is my real past?” And of course there’s the whole predicament of raising the clones from infancy to adulthood, but if you can stomach the small limitations, you’re in for the live performance of a lifetime. 

Sam Zelin, Weekly Columnist: While I’ve spent countless hours consuming music from vinyl, cassettes and CDs, I’m going to have to go with the most basic option and say streaming. Before you hate me, I promise I have at least a slightly valid reason. I listen to music largely while sitting at my drums and playing along, and there’s no easier way to blast whatever music I want to listen to straight to my headphones than by booting up Spotify and choosing a song. The convenience and variety available is just unmatched. 

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