Thinking about possibly one day acquiring some kind of updated music format

by | Feb 14, 2011 | Julie | 18 comments

So today I was lamenting how trashed all our kids CDs are (scratched and skipping), but also how much the kids love playing CDs, and how much better it is that they can skip from song to song, versus our minivan situation, which involves me fast forwarding or rewinding through cassette tapes to get to the requested song, while driving (yes, yes, I know, I should just tell them to be quiet and listen, that they’re lucky they get to hear anything at all, but sometimes I give in).

And I actually had this thought: “CDs are so great, so much easier for kids than cassettes or vinyl, I guess that’s why music hasn’t progressed past that at all. I wonder what the next format will be.” And then I was embarrassed, even though I was all by myself and these thoughts were in my own head. Where have I been? Um, yeah, I think there’s something newer out there, Julie.

So my question is, what format do you have for your kids’ music? Do you still have CDs? I often will download songs for them, and then I have to burn them on a CD, because we don’t have an MP3 player (which is why I forgot they exist). But is there some kind of giant, child-friendly MP3 player that I could put all their music on, and they could find the songs they want to listen to without help? Does everyone except for me skip the CD burn entirely, and just plug their MP3 player into some kind of speaker system? Thoughts, please!


  1. Patrick

    I have a couple of playlists with their music on my Ipod, which I plug into the car stereo system or into the stereo in the house. They have a cd player in their room right now, but that’s mostly for when they are going to bed(mellow mixes), but they also lose that most of the time anyway when they get in trouble.
    I should add that they don’t listen to a lot of kids music, but mostly to music I like that they like as well.
    I don’t know that any of this helps at all.

  2. Lisa van Oosterum

    I download everything onto my iPhone (Ipod before I had the phone). We have a few CDs, but I don’t buy any new ones. I mostly listen to Pandora radio on the iPhone. If you don’t know what that is, it is a free radio application on the phone where you listen to a station based around a genre or artist. For example, if I put in Ray Charles, it will play him and other similar artists. I don’t get to choose the songs and when i stop it, it picks up where I left off when I return. I have found great new music this way!! Pete Seeger station has been very popular around here thanks to you….

    I might have an old ipod you could have….

  3. Julie

    Just as I suspected, it might be nearing the time when we enter the digital age. The kids have a ton of their own music, though not very much of it is kid music, Patrick, because, as you know, I have very little tolerance beyond Dan Zanes. They do have a bunch of audio books that they like, and a wagon load of Pete Seeger stuff. I just have this vision of, like, this giant plastic kid iPod or something, that had some kind of easy-to-recognize way for them to tell which songs were which.

    I do feel fairly wasteful every time I get digital music and then have to burn it on to a CD to listen to while I make dinner.

    And I do know Pandora, and went through a big stage where I was listening to it a lot, but somehow I stopped. I should start that again; I found a lot of good new artists that way.

  4. Mo

    I don’t have kids but want to plug “grooveshark” as another internet music option. It is essentially the world’s biggest iPod.

    Also if you are interested I’m happy to send you my very very old (3G) iPod. You will have to buy the accessories (charger, car hook-up, earphones, speakers) but it’s yours if you want it. You can also get a non-iPod MP3 player for less than $100. I have not tried them but I can’t imagine they would not be perfectly adequate.

  5. Julie

    Any of you who want to give us your old iPods, we would be more than happy to have them. I’d love to have a kid one and a grownup one.

    Off to check out Grooveshark, Mo.

  6. Lisa van Oosterum

    Julie- I will find mine to give you. The kids will have no problem navigating through it to find what songs they want..I almost wish my kids couldn’t 😉

  7. Julie

    Hurray, Lisa! That would be GREAT!

  8. Angie

    We have this to set our i-pod in and play our music:

    We finally converted all of our CDs to MP3s and put most of the CDs in the basement! We also put the stereo and the big speakers in the basement. We don’t have that big a house so this little i-pod player does the trick for us. The girls have a CD player in their room with a few burned CDs, and Isaac has our old one of these i-pod players that we use for nighttime music for him.

    This i-pod player works great, but it’s probably not the best for kids because the i-pod does not sit securely in the dock so when the kids try to push the buttons they wiggle it all around. But for grown-ups, it’s great!

  9. Julie

    Angie, see, in my imaginary life, I have a nice iPod with a lovely speaker system like you have. Maybe this is what I need to be heading toward. For the kids, I think I’m thinking of something like this, only with the ability to be plugged in, and with more than 20 MB of memory, so I could put ALL their music on it. CDs in the basement! That would take such a load off. Right now sometimes they take all the CDs out of the cases and stack them up in pretty piles, and it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

  10. Anne

    Julie, forget about Fisher Price. Just get a regular (used) iPod and fill it with absolutely everything. The kids will figure out how to use it, especially if it’s only loaded with their music. They can browse through the album artwork to find what they want visually. They’re 21st century kids; they’ll figure out how to use it right away!

  11. Julie

    ALBUM ARTWORK!? See, this is how behind I am. I’m here thinking that they’re going to need to know how to read the song titles. I didn’t know anything about album artwork. They could totally do that. I would be so happy to clear out the tangle of scratched CDs off the playroom floor.

  12. Sutswana

    …I am getting so many ideas from all of you. Thank you from someone in Julie’s boat, and seemingly 90% of living space taken up by dinosaur music modes. Next question: how to transfer beloved 80s mix tapes onto something more durable?

  13. Julie

    Thanks to all this, I know have Lisa’s old iPod, which I am looking forward to filling with music so I can actually listen to something when I run. Have decided to test the waters by filling this iPod with MY music, and then will somehow acquire second one for the children. Dave and I were marveling at this last night — we don’t have any iPod, and this question has revealed that most people now have at least TWO of them. We are so behind.

    And I also want to know how to transfer 80s mix tapes to a digital format. Is there a way, short of trying to buy the songs individually?

  14. Patrick

    There are devices that can transfer cassette tapes, vinyl and even videotape to digital files. They are fairly pricey, but they have been dropping in price somewhat. I saw one that can convert vinyl directly to an Ipod yesterday at target and I think it was $150.00 or so. i think there are probably some ways to to do it by hooking up a cassette player to a computer and using some sort of program, but I have not looked too deeply into that.I actually ahve not looked too deeply into most of this, but i do know that the technology is out there.

  15. Lisa van Oosterum

    Yeah, cassettes to digital is not something the mainstream does yet beyond recreating the tapes by buying the songs individually…so you aren’t behind there. It is kind of a pity for those of us with mix tapes we love. Were you able to find a USB cable for the iPod? It does feel so good to get all the CDs onto one player and get the CDs out of there!

  16. Julie

    Cassette tapes to digital is a pie-in-the-sky thing for me; if I can just convert the CDs I’ll be dancing for joy. Lisa: I ordered a cheapie USB cord that I’m sure will work.

  17. Anne

    If you transfer cassettes, you won’t get the album artwork! Plus, cassettes have all those filler songs you might not want. Download just the songs you want from iTunes!

  18. Sutswana

    I hope they keep fiddling with the technology, as my best mix memories I’d like to preserve are old radio shows. Can’t recreate those on iTunes, unfortunately.


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