Can you name all the members of your favorite band? Don't give it any thought. Just off the top of your head, who are they? How about all the members of your top five bands? And here's a bonus question: What did they do before they were in your favorite band?
Bob is better at this kind of game than I am. Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson is scary-good, although his encyclopedic knowledge is largely limited to obscure, one-hit bands from the '80s. But it seems, in the digital age, that bands are becoming more anonymous.
Bob and I were talking about this the other day, and he said he noticed his basic knowledge of bands — such as the members' names — began to falter, in small ways, with the birth of compact discs. The CD liner notes, credits and lyrics were so small and unattractive, he says, that he stopped spending any time with them. When he still bought vinyl, he'd put on a record and sit with the cover, reading about who was in the band, who played what, who the producer was, and so on. Now, if you buy and download your favorite music online, you get even less information about the band, although Apple is starting to offer digital liner notes in the iTunes store.
If you've been around long enough to have bought a lot of vinyl, have you noticed that you know less about the bands, now that most music is available digitally? Do you even care who's in the bands you like?