The evolution of phones and music

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 4, 2014


It’s interesting to think that just 10 years ago, 13-year-old me was still carrying around a big old CD player, complete with my CD wallet to make sure that I always had a variety of music to choose from no matter where I was. If you asked me where my CDs are today, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I believe I got rid of them the first time that I transferred all of that music to an mp3 player (not my wisest choice, mind you). Although I had a Walkman Cassette Player before that, I seem to recall my CD player being the biggest media device I ever carried around with me. From then on, whatever I was listening to media on kept getting more useful, and more compact.


Dating back to maybe 7 or 8 years ago, I was usually carrying an mp3 player of sorts and a cell phone, but the two were separate devices. It was normal at the time. If you were lucky, you had a phone that could hold up to maybe 1GB of music, which was impressive, but it was obviously nothing compared to what we have today. Again, if you were to ask me what happened to all of my mp3 players I’ve owned in the past, I couldn’t tell you where they went. It’s been a long time since I’ve carried both an mp3 player and a phone with me. My phone has been my only source of music for quite some time now.


But even the way my phone has become my main source of music listening has changed over the years. With my first few smartphones, my main goal was to fit as much of my music collection into my phone as possible. When storage finally got to a place where the entire collection fit in the phone with room to spare, it seemed that smartphones could never get any better. But of course, they actually could. And they did.


I think my next big phase when it came to music and my smartphone was using Pandora to discover new music rather than using local radio stations. By this time, I already had my preferred genres of music sorted out, and I grew tired of hearing the same chart toppers play over and over again. Most of my music listening was done entirely from my smartphone at this point in time. Discovering new music on Pandora, purchasing the songs I liked through iTunes, and loading them onto my phone was something that I was certain couldn’t get any easier.


And again, I was wrong.


Music can get costly over time, even when you’re purchasing individual songs instead of full albums. Just think about it. I’m sitting on a collection of maybe 6,000 some odd songs, which is very little compared to some people’s collections. With each song being worth about $0.99, that’s about $6,000 worth of music. That’s a lot of money! But we’re always discovering new music that we like, so the cost keeps going up. It’s worth it in my opinion, but of course I would like it to be cheaper. Fortunately, thanks to services like Spotify, XBox Music, and Beats Music, discovering new music and being able to download it at your discretion is a lot more affordable.


I mean, sometimes it’s a little depressing to think that I don’t actually own the music, but for me the price is worth the convenience. I’ve been using Spotify for a couple of years now, and I can’t even begin to describe just how important the app, or apps like it, is for me to have on a phone. Aside from Netflix, it is probably the most used app on my phone.


It’s just interesting to look back and see how music and phones have evolved to work so well with each other. I would have never imagined it, not even when I had both an mp3 player and a phone in my possession. Now I only have one that serves as both, and it’s doggone fantastic.


How about you, readers? When it comes to music and smartphones, do you mix them both together, or do you carry separate gadgets?


Images via Tested, Fanpage