The other great thing about MP3s is the way in which they reinforce the best aspects of the music fan community and erode the worst. The MP3 is made for trading, and at no loss to the trader to boot. And the MP3′s status as a datafile eliminates the element of swagger and strut that the physical fetish status of a record or CD brings with it. There’s no peer pressure in the world of MP3s, nobody to know that you’re buying and listening to something uncool or out-of-date or ‘trashy’ instead of something hip or worthy: gradually the MP3 prises music from the fingers of its mummified, tasteful custodians. The trading aspect also counteracts the downside of MP3s, the way that at least for the moment, with the Rio portable player prohibitively expensive they’re the most hermetically private way of consuming music yet devised.
Tom Ewing em 1999.