The quite amazing book, The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg, has just reached second edition status. I read this years ago but remember little but its quirky brilliance, and seeing as Eisenberg now considers mp3s alongside the entire history and effects of recorded music, that's enough of a reason to pick up and read a second copy.
Here's a flavour:
"The record listener is a child of the supermarket. His self-expression is almost entirely a matter of selecting among packages that someone else designs. And he tends to think that these packages exhaust the possibilities. That kind of freedom can be tyrannical. People seem more comfortable dancing and courting to mechanical music. The charitable interpretation is that it lets them be alone with each other. The other interpretation is that it lets them be alone."
Alex Ross pulls out some more key quotes and notes:
"In the final section, Eisenberg moves beyond pessimistic pronouncements to extol the phonograph's ability to multiply musical meaning, with Schopenhauer, surprisingly, as his chief guide. There are further twists in the new edition, in which Eisenberg weights the pros and cons of music in the form of MP3s. It's a book well worth reading."