Back to the future: How much would you pay to listen to Nitzer Ebb on your phone . . . in 1990?

You. Over there. The smug bastard with the iPhone. You think you're so "cutting edge," don't you, just because you're listening to Harlem or some other godawful Brooklyn hipster rubbish that you discovered on Twitter, friended on Facebook, and are now streaming on Am I right or am I right? Right? Well, I'll tell you, punk, back in my day we could listen to new music over the phone, too! And that was 20 years ago! Before cell phones! Before Guided By Voices, even!

See, back then we had these things called "magazines" and there was a particular one called SPIN -- no, we didn't think you'd have heard of it -- that had ads in the back where you could just call up a number, hit a few buttons, and presto -- you're listening to Robert Plant albums over a crackly landline connection! Hah! You young people think you invented everything. 

And it only cost us -- 95 cents per minute. So you could listen to an album for like ten bucks, maybe 15. What do you pay these days? I bet like four or five bucks per so-- . . . what's that? Come again? Dollar a song? Most stuff free? Weeelllllll . . . it doesn't have the character -- the feeling in the handset, maaaan -- that you get from hearing real music over a monopoly-installed phone line with the big, lip-smudged plastic earpiece. You just wait -- this shit is going to come back harder than vinyl. Someday they're gonna release a Poi Dog Pondering box set, and the only way you're gonna be able to hear it is to call Jim Greer's answering machine on rotary dial!

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