Buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness: "experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality -- a feeling of being alive.
'These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being,'"
There is a deep marketing lesson in this finding. I've seen the same experiential-valuation said in the context of youth culture and cellphone products, that the money-makers today are those selling the experience, the sense and feeling of the community and belonging of a brand being more important than the products themselves -- this is, of course, something that has been totally obvious to musicians and stagecrafters for hundreds of centuries, going back to Aristophanes and long before: people don't just buy a coca cola, they buy a ticket on the journey of the drinking. And so much the better if the passage actually takes them someplace.
Where we ever got the idea they wanted to buy bits of imprinted plastic is beyond me. At best, maybe for the rarities, they buy a ticket passage into the lands of expos and tradefairs, but most often is all they've really bought into their ipod any more than just a postcard to a place they've never been?