Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Do You See Deese CDs?"

(say the title in a New York accent for the full effect) 

This is just a short post musing on something that I've written about before but with more perspective now...

My birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and I treated myself to some CDs that I'd been meaning to buy over the last year. They were mainly new releases by some of my favorite bands that I hadn't gotten around to getting for whatever reason. Doing so reminded me of this idea for a post that I've had in the back of my mind over the last several months, which originally germinated with this story on the fall of the CD as the king of the musical delivery formats. I also have recently read and reviewed an excellent book on the rise and fall of the CD as the music industry has gone almost totally digital. Whenever I mention that I still buy CDs to my friends and family, most of them give me incredulous looks...even the older ones! It seems that everyone is going digital and abandoning their physical music collections for files on a computer. However, this article defending CDs as a viable physical medium even in 2016 made me realize one of the huge reasons that I still buy them.

Like the author of that Rolling Stone article, I am happy to have a physical back-up for all of my most treasured music. Crystallizing this for me is the fact that I have a 2009 iPod Classic (one of the last ones made) that has a corrupted hard drive and a battery that won't hold a charge. What this means is that, even after loading all 16,000+ songs onto it from my library, it is prone to erasing itself completely, something it's done twice in the last two years. While this usually has me cursing to no end, it's more because of the effort and time I know it's going to take for me to reload everything back onto it after I clean up the iPod disc drive. Eventually, I'll replace this iPod with a new one, but in the meantime since I have the majority of my music on CD (and the rest, which is digital-only, backed up on my computer), it's not a big deal. Beyond that, as I've written before, I'm old school and absolutely love album art, liner notes, and the packaging that goes into making each album its own unique work of art. Finally, with everyone else getting rid of their CDs, I'm able to find lots of the stuff I'm looking for at really low prices when browsing the used sections of my favorite record stores or Amazon. It's great being able to pay $3 or $4 for a CD that is brand new in almost every way except that I didn't remove the shrink wrap from it. Even new CDs are much cheaper now than they were in their 1990s heyday...it's normal to pay $8 or $9 for a brand new CD, and only $14 for a double! (Those of you who are around my age, do you remember the days when a single was $15 and a double was $30? How times have changed!). The only downside is that they do take up a fair amount of physical space in my home, although I've pruned my collection down from ~2,000 CDs to a more manageable ~1,200 (and counting).

All I know is that I'm thankful that CDs are still around and will be for a while, and the fact that they're not so popular makes it easier and cheaper for me and my fellow CD lovers to keep buying them at a deep discount. I'd say that's a win-win situation, wouldn't you agree?

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, it's hard for me to get rid of anything. I have somewhere around 1300 vinyl record albums, and talk about taking up space. Plus add to that about that many CDs. Some of the CDs are dupes of the vinyl too, like Tommy by the Who, or the Beatles, or whatever. It gets a bit nutty. For one, I just don't trust all this electronic stuff to always work, and I've never owned an iPod (though I have a knock-off media player). I don't care for the compatibility issues, trouble shooting, syncing and whatever other issues might arise, and then having the tiny little iPod then crap out on you or freeze up, etc. Just putting music on the thing takes up time, and when I want to hear something, I just want to access it quickly and listen to it, and preferably not over headphones.

    No doubt I could sell some of my vinyl on eBay, which I've thought of reducing some of that as I even have duplicates of some of my vinyl as well. That has made a bit of a comeback, and really from what I have seen online, some of the old black vinyl sounds as good, even better than any of the re-released stuff which commands double the price. There's some things I would consider getting rid of, but the music stays until I'm laid to rest.

    I used to have a friend whom I met a few years before I left West Texas, and we had similar taste in music, and felt similar about music too. He never got rid of much, hardly ever, and he had about double of what I have. He eventually built a shed out back to help store everything, plus his garage was full of stuff too. It was truly amazing coming from a music fan's perspective. He also had duplicates on speakers, amps, etc.

    I found someone on YT that sort of is of similar mindset. Check out his videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKuqDcRYM48&t=1449s

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    Replies
    1. Wow, you've got as many records as I do CDs, but at least CDs are smaller! Mine take up a ton of space, I can't imagine how much your records take up! :)

      We seem to be in agreement about why it's good to keep ahold of physical music media...electronic gadgets can and will break down (like I mentioned in the post about my iPod). All of these people I know personally or I read about who dump all of their CDs and go totally digital...what happens if your hard drive or computer or anything like that dies and you don't have multiple backups? Then what?

      I like your statement "the music stays until I'm laid to rest." Couldn't have said it better myself...I'm with you there!

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