That last aside reflects the reality of a growing network of digital sources that will prove almost impossible to monitor, let alone supervise or control. They'll try, mind you. Rupert Murdoch, to take one example wants to develop some form of user pays model, and I can't help thinking that the fuss about child pornography and kids' access to the internet is coming as much from those who want to regulate, monitor and, most importantly, control the flow of data on the Web.

As a music consumer, however, I'm highly relieved that the coming of the broadband era has ushered in an age where people just about anywhere in the developed world can get more or less instantaneous access to almost anything that has been digitized.

No more poring over catalogues, scanning release sheets, placing orders with disinterested shop assistants and waiting to see whether distributors are actually going to despatch what you ordered. A web browser, a good search engine, an increasing awareness of where to look and you're off. Bob's your uncle and the musical world's your oyster.

What you order might take awhile to actually reach you, assuming you're looking at a physical product. After all, there are the vagaries of the postal system to contend with, but it's a vast improvement on what went before.

Changes in my financial situation have meant that I'm in a position where I can afford to buy more, rather than less, recorded music and I expect that Hughesy's music library will continue to grow between now and whenever it is that they put me in the pine box and cart me away.

That's a prospect that would have 'Er Indoors rolling her eyes, given the quantity of recorded music that's already inside the Little House of Concrete.

The best part of the digital download side of things is the fact that digital data doesn't take up a lot of actual shelf space. Of course there are drawbacks that come with the format - a purist would raise sound quality issues for a start - but the fact that I can buy a copy of an album without having to find space on the CD shelves is, as far as I'm concerned, a definite plus.


B© Ian Hughes 2012