If "video killed the radio star" then smart phones are killing the music discussion.
A few weeks ago my husband, brother-in-law and his wife were sitting around a campfire in Northern Ontario. It was a beautiful night and much wine had been consumed. We were listening to Queen and the topic of Freddy Mercury's untimely death came up. We spent a mere 60 seconds trying to figure out how many years passed between Queen's first album and Mercury's passing. That's when one of us pulled out a BlackBerry, googled the question and read the answer verbatim from wikipedia, killing the conversation and effectively silencing the debate. Had this discussion taken place ten years ago, we might have passed an hour arguing about the year that Queen appeared on the music charts, sharing our recollection of how old we were and what was happening in our lives. The discussion would no doubt have included some unexpected revelations and surprises.
Later that same weekend, we were watching The Big Lebowski. Somewhere in the middle of the movie the Jeff Bridges character is experiencing a drug-induced trip after being poisoned. I mentioned to my husband that the soundtrack reminded me of a Kenny Rogers tune I used to know in another lifetime. He didn't believe me, but before I had a chance to defend myself, he whipped out his i-Phone and, thanks to Shazam, he was able to grudgingly confirm that I was right. Of course, that wasn't the point. Hearing the song had awoken a memory after almost three decades. As an adolescent I had a good friend whose mom idolized Kenny Rogers and played his records constantly to the point that I can sing along with all of his songs. In the years that followed my friend's family was shattered by some horrible secrets, she moved away and I lost track of her. But for those few years, playing Barbies in her basement, listening to country music, life was good. Of course, I never really got to share that story because, as with the Queen incident, technology had ruined the moment.
It's great that we no longer have to wait more than a few seconds to get the answer to life's pressing questions but the thing is, it's not really the answer that matters, it's the stories conjured up by the trip down memory lane that makes these debates fun. I don't know if technology makes us dumber or lazier but I venture it makes us less interesting.