R.I.P. The Compact Disc, 1982-2008?

I recently came to work with two large tote bags filled with compact discs and dumped them out on a table in the middle of the office. To me, they were garbage. But for the vultures that are my fellow NPR Music producers, it was like finding a mountain of free money. They shuffled through the pile, grabbing everything that caught their eye. At one point, Stephen Thompson held up my discarded copy of Radiohead's OK Computer and incredulously asked, "Why would you get rid of this?"

For about a year now, I've been slowly purging my once-proud CD collection. Twenty-five years' worth of music, from the first disc I ever bought (Pink Floyd's The Wall) in 1984, to more recent releases.

Of course, I'm not really getting rid of them. I'm ripping everything to a massive hard drive hooked up to what has become my stereo: my computer.

This is partly because I don't like having a house overrun with thousands of CDs. Invisible sound files on a hard drive are simply more convenient. You can also do a lot more with digital files and iTunes, like delivering an endless stream of music through the house in any conceivable configuration, by artist, genre, or favorite playlists. Changing out a CD in a player feels as clunky and outdated as flipping a record on a turntable.

But I'm also purging my CDs because I believe they're a dying format. There's never been a more obvious trend. CD sales continue to plummet at a breathless — and, if you're one of the big labels, alarming — rate. Meanwhile, digital download sales continue to climb.

None of this is as sexy as having a tangible package of music, with artwork and liner notes. And downloading files isn't nearly as cozy as flipping through the local bands section of a record store. But the truth is, I never listen to actual CDs more than once or twice. After that, they're ripped to my computer — I put the discs away and never look at them again.

Lately, I've felt a sense of urgency to get rid of the rest of my old CDs before they become as obsolete as 8-track tapes and cassettes.

So, what does your CD collection look like? Is it getting smaller? Do you even buy actual CDs now, or do you just download everything?

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Dude!
I did the download thing for a while, but decided that nothing beats having those lovely liner notes, in that clear plastic case, and that CD that you can pop into your hi-fi - with no loss in sound quality, and no annoying DRM to hack around. So I'm back to the ol' physical copies, either from a record store or an online outlet.

Yes - it's even worth the shrink wrap, IMHO.

Sent by Tim | 2:25 PM | 4-14-2008

I still buy CDs because I'm old-fashioned and want a tangible product for my money.

However, I too keep my CDs stored away and only listen to the ripped files on my computer or my iPod.

I tell myself I'm keeping them because the songs on my computer are all mp3s at low bitrates, but this may just be an excuse. Maybe whenever I get a computer with a big enough hard drive I'll re-rip my CDs to a lossless format and then get rid of them.

For now, though, I have a hard time letting go.

Sent by Kyle | 2:33 PM | 4-14-2008

My house sound system is wired to my computer and iPods go everywhere. I mainly purchase downloadable copies. I only by CDs if it is an album that can't be downloaded, but it is quickly ripped and discarded.

I do have about 600 vinyl records left.

Sent by Wayne | 2:37 PM | 4-14-2008

My computer will never replace my stereo. Hence the very act of maintaining a digital library kind of makes my head hurt. Why do all that crap when I can just throw the cd in the player (or record on the turntable) and start the act of simplying enjoying music?

So yeah, I still buy cd's (and records). Lots of them. One day they may not make them anymore but that won't make them any less valuable to me.

Sent by xtianDC | 2:39 PM | 4-14-2008

I hear what you are saying, Robin, but I take the opposite view. Despite having a large collection that takes up space, I like having cds. Similarly, I like having books on my shelf. Both books and cds are nice to look at for me, and each item has memories. To be sure, I rip the albums on my ipod, but just because I like having my collection when I'm out an about. Then again, I also make time to listen to an album every night before I go to bed. It is a great way for me to relax and decompress from a long day. I just sit on my sofa with a cup of coffee and magazine or a book while the music plays for about an hour.

That's great, Pablo. Bob was just asking me whether I ever just sat and listened to an album all the way through and did nothing else. I still do it, but not very often.

Sent by Pablo | 2:51 PM | 4-14-2008

I'm doing about half CDs, half downloading. It comes down to which is cheaper: the used CD or the album download price. Because format death aside, I'm still a sucker for the album, and I don't usually need the instant gratification.

However, downloading won a considerable victory this weekend when--after my wife and I bought tickets to see REM, Modest Mouse, and The National--I turned right around and bought the new REM for us to listen to while we ran errands the rest of the day. I couldn't have done that with a CD.

Sent by Mike | 3:16 PM | 4-14-2008

Yes, low bitrates are annoying, packing is fun, but ya'll are missing two key reason to keep buying CDs.

First, hard drives inevitably break. Maybe not today or next month, but they will fail. CDs have finite life spans too, but they're apt to last many decades, whereas hard drives count their lives in years. You scratch up a CD, you lose one album. But when that HD goes, your entire collection goes with it. I've had it happen to several friends and shudder at the thought.

Second, Digital Rights Management means you don't really own most of those tracks you buy online through iTunes. They're just kind of letting you borrow them for a fee. Better not lose that laptop or ipod. Don't load that music library on to too many computers. After a few times, DRM will stop letting you do that, assuming you are a criminal. And want to upgrade to a higher bitrate when better technology comes along? Woa there, cowboy, I'm afraid you'll have to buy every single song all over again.

All that considered, I'll stick to paying a couple bucks extra for a full-quality, tangible, lasting CD that's mine for sure. I do some downloading, but prefer the ole real world medium, especially for albums I love.

Even if I do end up listening to rips of CDs on my computer most of the time, it's still worth the shelf space.

Sent by Kevin | 3:16 PM | 4-14-2008

I think Pablo makes a great point in comparing CD's to books, but like others have been saying, it's really all about vinyl records. Sure I have loads of music on my computer and iPod (as Pablo said, for convenience), but my "collection" is split between CD's and vinyl (mostly because promoters only send CD's nowadays), and I'll proudly display them on my shelf as long as I still enjoy listening to music.

To me, it's owning the actual "thing" that someone put countless hours of hard work into, and not just having a few sound files on my computer. That's what makes vinyl so nice, it's like having a book. The sound exists on the record, like words in a book; the grooves in the album are the real sound waves, just like the fading ink in my dad's copy of Time And Again (on loan to me for 20 years now) is real ink.

Call it "emotional" or "romantic" but isn't that what real music collectors seek? Isn't that the whole point of still going to record stores, sifting through boxes of unorganized singles?

I do 90% of my listening from my iPod and computer, but when it comes to "owning" music, I have to have it on my shelf, where I can look at it and say "yes, I own that music."

Sent by John Michael Cassetta | 3:39 PM | 4-14-2008

Just when "All Songs Considered" has you in a place of contentment and relaxation with posts about comfort food and silly videos about the song writing process, what do they do? Go for the kill.

I will most likely be moving this Fall and my CD collection will not be able to come with me. I know I will have to either store the CDs or sell them, but I really didn't need to think about that right now. So thanks.

Every time I try to prune my CD collection, I fail miserably. I don't know how I came to have a Spin Doctors' live album in my collection. I don't want it. It certainly has overstayed its welcome. I don't think I have ever listened to it, and yet there it sits in my "secondary CD rack" hidden away in a corner of my bedroom away from those who would use my CD collection to cast dispersion on my street cred. (Oh crap! Am I going to need a separate hard drive for my secondary "nobody can ever know about this" music?)

I would have to agree that i think that CDs are on their way out and will end up in the same category as other dead formats like 8 tracks and tapes. They will always have their fans, but their influence is waning.

If you like album art and liner notes, there is no better format then vinyl if you can find it, not to mention the unique sound of vinyl. Although a high res monitor and iTunes is a new way to look at album art I guess. And if you don't want something that will take up a lot of room, well you can't get much more compact then downloads.

I find that I am downloading a lot more now and if I want something concrete in my hands, I buy vinyl if available.

As for ripping albums before selling them back, I am still torn. In one sense it seems like selling someone your car, but keeping a spare set of keys in case you ever need to use it again. In another sense, I'm poor. Buying all that music again if it is available at all doesn't make much sense either.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I work at pulling this knife out of my back. I still have months to go before I have to give up the illusion that I can keep my CDs as they are.

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 4:35 PM | 4-14-2008

I too shudder at the thought of losing a hard drive full of music...but it's easy to rip it all back off of friends in a Saturday.

The only collection that matters is vinyl. Vinyl is the physical format of the future!

To be sure, I'm backing up my backup... everything will live on two separate, external hard drives and, at least 60 gig of it, on my iPod. -- rh

Sent by Lee | 4:38 PM | 4-14-2008

I am only 19 years old but I live in the flat that has shelves with old Beatles and other LPs that were mostly sent from family friends in Sweden (I am from Slovakia and during communism it was almost impossible to simply buy music). We also have shelves of old cassettes with music like Nirvana, Depeche Mode or Cure that belong to my older siblings. And I represent the generation in my family with a shelf of very few CDs.

Though there is something magical about CDs, I guess that my kids won't have any shelf with music. Probably they'll stack three ipods on the shelf and that's the end of it. :) And I like this change :)

The best thing about music downloads is that the artist no longer has to invest so much money into releasing the CD. Thus new great music is produced as an open source every day. Therefore my CD collection is increasingly getting smaller but my music collection has never been so rich and I am just in the beginning of quest for great music.

Sent by Lenka Bliss | 4:57 PM | 4-14-2008

I have done completely the opposite. I just recently deleted all the extraneous MP3s off the laptop and have slowly started deleting MP3s off the external hard drive. I know you encode them at a high bit rate, Robin, but I JUST NEVER LISTEN TO MP3s. Ever. It always feels cheap to me. And I sometime get the urge to flick around on iTunes, slowly losing the "album feel" that's so important to me.

In fact, my 2nd generation iPod -- you know, the black and green screen? -- finally pooped out on me and I currently have no plans to replace it.

The best thing I did with my ever-growing collection was to throw away all the jewel cases and replace them with plastic sleeves. (Has made moving so much easier, too.) I still get the tactile experience of filing through 7 huge boxes of CDs, sometimes coming across an album I haven't heard in years. I'm also a very visual person, and tend to learn more that way, so having original artwork (especially on an LP) helps me enjoy the music all the more.

Sent by Lars | 5:27 PM | 4-14-2008

When i moved to college I left all of my CDs at home and haven't purchased a cd since. Digital Music is just so much more convenient for me to throw on my thumb sized mp3 player. I think LPs may actually last beyond CDs for some people as their novelty is greater, being able to physically read music through a needle.

I don't think we can say CDs will be over this year, but the end is probably near as the internet grows more pervasive.

Sent by Matt Rezin | 5:33 PM | 4-14-2008

The thing that scares me about the death of the CD and is that with it dies the Album, and in the end, the ability to truly appreciate an artist in all of its subtle detail. There's a whole generation of people who are going to be used to the idea of single song downloads, who find value in three minute pop escapism instead of the art and the artist.

My fear is that this will lead to smaller fanbases, which means less concert attendance, which in turn is going to make it way harder to make a career out of being a musician.

Or maybe I'm just a fatalist and really like the idea of a physical product.

Sent by David W. | 5:53 PM | 4-14-2008

I listen to music on my computer and iPod, but I still buy CDs. Why? Because I still like the experience better. I live in Oakland, CA, so I can buy my music at Amoeba, either the one in Berkeley or in San Francisco, and the experience of browsing the aisles of a great record store will always be a much better experience than browsing the iTunes Store. And I also like to have shelves full of CDs. I don't have as many as you do, so maybe I'd change my mind if I did, but I like being able to walk over to my shelves and look through my CDs to see what I want to listen to next. And that's what I almost always do - when one album ends and I want to listen to something else, I don't browse through my iTunes library. I look at my CD shelves. I really prefer being able to stand there and just look up and down at what I have at a glance, as opposed to scrolling endlessly through hundreds of titles on the screen.

Sent by Josh Burnett | 6:24 PM | 4-14-2008

Good topic.

A few years back, my brother tossed all his jewel cases/liner notes and just put discs in CaseLogic books. I was sort of astonished and jealous of his ability to part with that half of the CD packaging.

Even though iPod/computer are my main sources for music, I still find myself going to local independent store and buying CDs. There is some security in having the physical copy on hand.

That said, I've also been building my vinyl collection by selling CDs I no longer listen to and using store credit on vinyl. The recent trend of buying vinyl and getting a coupon for free mp3s is probably another omen of the CD's demise.

I don't envision that I'll go CD-free anytime soon. Hell, I'm still keeping some of my cassettes (and "cassingles") around for nostalgia's sake.

Sent by Kevin | 8:13 PM | 4-14-2008

I'm not quite ready to get rid of my CDs, but most of them have already been downloaded to my computer. I've also downloaded quite a bit from eMusic and Amazon, which are DRM free. I won't pay for downloads with DRM. I don't mind that downloads don't provide anything tangible, like liner notes or a CD case, because most CD liners aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and I'd rather save the space. I still buy an occasional CD, like the recent reissue of Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool, because it's a nice package for an album I've been missing since my turntable was last unplugged.

I expect I'll be boxing up most of my CDs and putting them in the attic before too long, but I can't see dumping them. I still have a couple of boxes of LPs too. The MP3 files are on my computer's hard drive, backed up to an external HD, and most are also on my iPod, but in case of catastrophic multiple hard drive failure, I'd like to have the CDs. I'l probably also keep the box sets out, 'cause they look cool on the shelf.

Sent by Gary | 8:30 PM | 4-14-2008

I'll either get it online like Gary from emusic or amazon. I also buy LPs every once in a while used or new if it's something good. LPs seem to be cheaper than CDs and sometimes come bundled with a free download like Neon Bible did. (or I think it did.) The physical engagment with records is something I love. My earliest memory is sitting in front of Talking Heads's Little Creatures propped up against the stereo in the living room.

Sent by Andy | 9:32 PM | 4-14-2008

I always buy the CD, and then put it on my computer. Have you ever been screwed by itunes from reformating your computer and losing your albums? Plus, I like the tactile response that CDs bring, a complete package, a solid album. I-tunes just is so seamless (ack). Even though cds might be a dying media, I love my trinquets!

p.s. Robin/Bob, you should analyze some of the coming festivals based on artist composition. With all these festivals springing up, it looks like long time acts like ACL are having problems figuring out who to book to meet their target audience.
http://www.austincitylimits.com/forum/tt.aspx?forumid=3

p.p.s. Throwing away OK Computer . . . you should shame yourself.

Sent by hobbesgallo | 10:02 AM | 4-15-2008

Robin, I agree with you 100%. The CD is dead. I haven't purchased one in over 3 years electing to get all my new music electronically. I've invested in a couple of external 500GB hard drives ($240 total investment). I ripped my collection to one drive and used the other one to back it up. The music now lives on my computer and I can access it anywhere I can access the web via the software package "Ampache". I can DJ at a friend's party by simply using his Internet connection and viola, I have access to my entire collection. Much better than trying to lug around 2500+ CDs. As far as liner notes and artwork goes, meh. To me it's about the music, not the packaging. If I am interested to read/see more about a band or work of music there are plenty of blogs and band websites on the net to more than satisfy my curiosities.

Sent by Bobby | 10:06 AM | 4-15-2008

I try not to contribute to a post more then once, but I was listening Jim Noir's new album and there is a track titled, "Good Old Vinyl." (unfortunately it is not on his myspace page).

It seems that this is a topic already being sung about. I had a pretty hearty chuckle when I started to hear the lyrics and realized what the song was about.

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 10:22 AM | 4-15-2008

Like most other people, I buy a CD, rip it to my computer and iPod, then put it on the shelf, and never open the jewel case again (except to occasionally look at the liner notes). However, I am nowhere close to ready to get rid of my CD's.

First of all, I don't have that many of them. My collection is only about 100 strong, which I'm sure seems tiny to many of the people here, but it's enough for me for now, and it grows at the manageable rate of 1 to 2 per month.

Second, I do not trust hard drives. I've had several of them fail, so until I have a regular, simple, reliable backup system, I'm not nearly ready to entrust a hard drive with thousands of dollars' worth of music.

Third, I really like the physical aspect of CD's. I'm sure once my collection grows large enough to be unwieldy, I'll be ready to get rid of them, but for now, I like looking at them my shelf and being able to open up a case and admire the artwork and such.

Sent by Nick | 10:34 AM | 4-15-2008

I have quite a few CDs, but mostly in boxes. I used to love watching my CD collection expand, until it expanded a bit too far. Thanks to shows like All Songs Considered, I have been turned onto so many genres and artists that it became a nightmare to keep all my CDs in order...

before long, I was taking a CD out of the player, flipping it with another, temporarily placing it in the wrong case and then getting it all mixed up. I still have a great appreciation for album art and liner notes, but the jewelled cases have never impressed me that much as they break very easily...I can't count how many cases I broke opening on the first time because the store had an extra layer of transluscent tape on one corner or another. This aspect of a CD I do not miss at all.

The other issue that mentally prepared me for my move away from the physical to the digital collection was as a student, moving around for several years and living in small rooms or apartments. A couple huge, heavy boxes of CDs that never get completely sorted out before having to move to the next apartment is enough to convince you that an I-Pod and book-sized external drive has some merit

I am not sure if i will ever part from my CDs, but I am prepared to embrace digital music just as I am prepared to embrace new musical sounds that at one point I had no interest in.

Sent by Steve C | 12:05 PM | 4-15-2008

Hi my name is Jill and I am a music junkie..... I also live in a small town in Colorado. My connection to new bands is the Internet, I can sample artists on Myspace and listen to radio from Seattle and Austin. I used to have to travel to a city to go buy records and used Cd's, it was one of my favorite activities, completely exhilarating. The last time I went to a huge used cd store, the magic was gone. I can get all the music on my computer for so much less money. It is a loss that makes me really sad. Things have changed. At least for me.

Sent by Jill Jones | 12:54 PM | 4-15-2008

Something to think about is the environment. Which is more green - everyone having their own hard copy of music - their own cd, or some main computer jukebox open to all on a reasonable basis. That would save a lot of resources.
The future is for the latter. But with its inevitability we must have safeguards. No one should control the world music jukebox, or be able to edit who gets on there. No government, no company, not even a single nation.
Or perhaps both is best with someway to recycle cd's on the one hand, or download music from online sources on the other. Long live the revolution in the arts.

Sent by Tom Hendricks | 12:58 PM | 4-15-2008

well, what can i say?

even in the vinyl days, i made over 20 mixed tapes just for myself.

and in the early days of cd's, i made a few of mixed cd's myself.

but with shuffle and a 30 gig mp3 player - i slobber over getitng a 80 gig one - plus a one tetrabyte external drive, i love my mp3's!

i miss the tactile of the big vinyl record, but i love the experience of not knowing which song or genre will be coming next. could it be could it be a luther wright and the wrongs' bluegrass version of a tune from the wall, some old cajun from clifton chenier, some weird bit from ken nordine, some classic punk from the pistols or the clash, some some south african pop music i picked up when i lived next door to south africa in the 90's, some new electronica, a pop song i picked up from my tween daughter? who knows? and that's the thrill!

Sent by OlderMusicGeek | 1:28 PM | 4-15-2008

I have 135 days of music in my iTunes library, and only about 10 days of that are from CDs I've bought. You'd be surprised at the selection that local public libraries can provide...

Sent by Taylor C | 11:13 PM | 4-15-2008

I don't think CDs will ever completely disappear as a format. So many independent artists sell boxes of CDs at shows as impulse buys - the audience member who wants a souvenir. You can't autograph an mp3 file. I buy the majority of my CDs at live concerts (who would know? I've taken lots of surveys regarding music purchases and it's never been a choice). I also buy CDs from my old-fashioned record club (when I joined, reel-to-reel tape was still a format option), where I can often buy CDs cheaper than an mp3 album download.

I also agree that keeping CDs as, what I like to call, single piece digital storage units makes sense. As much as I sleep with my iPod at night, machines fail.

Sent by Ann V. | 9:40 AM | 4-16-2008

As many others have said, if I'm going to spend the money, I want to have the physical product to show for it. I know that in the name of convenience, CDs will soon go the way of the dodo, but I am hesitant to take part in their demise. I like my ridiculously cumbersome CD binders and flipping through the racks at my local independent store, looking for that great find that puts the perfect kiss on the old-fashioned record store trip. Similarly, I'm not eager to partake in Amazon's new Kindle device, which allows for the downloading of books and periodicals to a hand-held device where they can be carried conveniently, yada, yada, yada. I want a book in my hands, I want to feel the pages and the weight of the thing, just like I want a CD.

Sent by Josh Corman | 10:10 AM | 4-16-2008

Yes, I'm pretty much in the download camp. And it worries me. With so much music at my fingertips, I no longer listen to one album/cd over-and-over-and-over. I no longer sit through songs I don't initially appreciate but later come to love after continued listens. I no longer have every layer and turn in my head.

So many of what we agree to be the greatest albums required a commited courtship. Would Pink Floyd have created the art they did in today's digital, single based environment? Would "Pet Sounds" or "Sgt Pepper" or even "Joshua Tree" had the impact and significance they did? Would we even know about "Kind of Blue?"

I'm definately living my music life via the MP3 file, but I know I've given up a lot in doing so.

Sent by Jeffrey Mason | 2:46 PM | 4-16-2008

Great post! While I love technology, I'm still iPod-free. Trips to Best Buy have become significantly less fun with my brother's disappointment; he'll only make mp3 CDs for me. My father has three types of players and refuses to part with one. Nevertheless, the romance a CD offers cannot be denied - from packaging to purchase - life, hopes, magic, and all that's timeless blesses the music for listening. Like journal writings, they are humbling gifts that keep giving.

Sent by jehan | 4:15 PM | 4-16-2008

So, I have a collection of tapes, cds, and records, and they probably constitute less than twenty-five percent of my listening time. I knew cds were out when I took a long plane ride and brought a rug weaver size spool of cds that i was trying to sort through on the plane and the kid next to me was whipping through his I-Pod while I dropped burned cds on the floor. That said, this post reminds me of the non-problematic post http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/93-music-piracy/
and I guess the real question for me is kind of like Bob's post about the future of music formats, what's the future record/music store look like? I mean online stuff is okay, but I agree that there's something special about a record store and the conversations/sharing that take place person-to-person, that I don't see recreated in online music blogs, magazines, etc.

Sent by zach | 8:15 PM | 4-16-2008

This topic made me sad...

...until I read the first comment by Tim! I agree 125% with you Tim. I do rip music to my hard drive, but nothing beats having a tangible copy.

Sent by bryant | 7:06 PM | 4-17-2008

Bob, I really, really, really hope you are backing up your hard drive. That's all I have to say about MP3s vs CDs


bob

Sent by Casey | 7:42 PM | 4-17-2008

What I've found very interesting is that since about 1985 I haven't heard a song that I wanted to listen to over and over again. Now I subscribe to Rhapsody and listen to you so I get to hear songs once or twice and then move on. Beautiful.

Sent by Franklin T. new guitar class starting Apr. 27th bob. | 12:09 AM | 4-19-2008

Bought my first CD - Dark Side of the Moon, back in like 1986 in 9th grade. Bought my last CD like 4 or 5 years ago after buying the 1st gen Archos, then the 1st gen ipod. I haven't used a CD in years.

Everyone always brings up HDs crashing. Its just not the expensive to go to Costco or wherever, pay $200 for a 500 GB external HD with built in backup software. Plus, with 9 out of 10 people have less than 30 or 60GB of music, and most people have all their music on an ipod or whatever, so right off the bat, you have a copy of everything.

I sold my huge collection of CDs years back for a few dollars. Haven't looked back.

No more cassettes, no more CDs. Pretty soon, no more DVDs. 1s and 0s...1s and 0s...

Sent by HB | 2:12 PM | 4-19-2008

I like having my CDs around. I like holding them in my hand. I also like looking at my photos in albums so even though I have a digital camera, I still order prints of my pictures. I am picky about the CDs that I purchase, but if I like the songs well enough to want to listen to them over and over, or if I really want to support a particular artist, I will always want to purchase a CD and not just have digital files on my hard drive. Can't we have both?

Sent by tsarina | 8:42 PM | 4-19-2008

Regarding losing a hard drive, that's why we have created back ups. The easiest way is to invest in a RAID +1 system, but failing that, just buy a 500GB+ external hard drive and create a scheduled task to copy your entire music folder to it every Saturday. If you're unlucky enough to have both the external and internal drives die at the same time, I'm sure you could find a way to lose an entire collection of CDs in a day as well.

Sent by Shawn | 10:49 PM | 4-19-2008

For the time being I still buy CDs. I think it's because of some desire to have a tangable object for my money.

Another reason is that my iPod FM transmitter doesn't always work correctly. So with my new music, I have to use CDs in my car usually.

Sent by Chris | 11:19 PM | 4-20-2008

At this point the main reason I still buy CDs is sound quality. I'm not necessarily a person who can spend a lot of money in audio equipment, but even with the modest equipment I have MP3 and similar formats just don't cut it. Once technology improves and I can get the same online, I'll switch.

Sent by Arturo | 5:27 PM | 4-21-2008

Once you get rid of the original CD, LP, tape or whatever source you purchased and ripped to make your music files, at that point you have lost your legal right to possess the digital copy. If I were you, Robin, I would put the original music sources in a nice box to show the music companies when they send their lawyers around to see you. Also, obtaining a copy of a recording from a library, as at least one poster suggested, does not give anyone the right to copy it.

Sent by Thornton | 10:23 PM | 4-24-2008

I am absolutely TERRIFIED of getting rid of my 800+ cd collection. I am living in Okinawa for a few years and I know the movers HATE ME when they see how many cd's and books I have but I DON'T CARE. I am an avid iTunes customer and don't even listen to my "cd's" anymore due to the iPod that is always at hand and has a speaker dock in the bedroom, living room, kitchen and car but I get scared of loosing the hard discs. My "Purchased" list on iTunes has a whopping 2338 items in it at 55.76GB and I do have a 350GB external hard drive too but still I find myself unlikely to get rid of the cd's.

Sent by Karen McKinstry O'Connor | 9:04 AM | 4-27-2008

I am no audiophile, but listen on a quality old-skool system. MP3's sound pretty lousy when played through a pair of good speakers. I gotta have my CD's!

try 256 AAC format, I quite like it, or Applelossless

bb

Sent by GG Allin | 10:35 AM | 4-27-2008

Sound quality is just not an issue for me with MP3s. I know a lot of audiophiles complain about anything short of lossless encoding, but I rip all my songs at 192 VBR MP3, and I can't hear the difference between those and higher bitrates. I lost some hearing over the years before I discovered the benefits of earplugs at live shows, so I'm sure that's part of it, but my 80GB iPod with a great pair of headphones sounds plenty good enough for me. Even if I could hear a difference, the convenience of 12000+ songs in my pocket can't be beat.

Sent by Gary | 9:55 PM | 4-28-2008

Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of having all my music on my external hard drive. God forbid my house catches on fire I can grab my external and still have my entire collection with me. But I still do love having a physical cd in hand looking at liner notes etc. Every Wed. I go to my local cd store and pick up what I need, it also gives me a sense of satisfaction to flip through cd's to see if anything catches my eye. I know I'll miss cd's if they disappear.

Sent by Jorge M. | 2:54 PM | 4-29-2008

The only reason I buy cd's is if I love all the songs on it, or if I think I will with time. If I had my sound systems updated, I probably would download it all. Even now, it still feels like cheating to only download songs that I like off of an album. And then you have to figure out where to place them on a playlist. . .part of the fun of an album was growing into it and learning to like it.

Sent by michelle | 5:45 PM | 4-29-2008

I prefer my CD collection to the digital backup. It's more REAL to me than the digital files on my computer. The fact that I can see and touch it as well as listen to it is part of the experience. I still mourn the "death" of vinyl as I have fond recollections of rainy childhood afternoons spent hiding behind a fortress of gatefold sleeves, looking at pictures of the artists, reading the lyrics and liner notes while listening to the music.

Sent by Julia | 12:30 PM | 4-30-2008

All-digital is a too volatile medium, for me. I'm not impressed with the durability of consumer technology hardware: desktops, laptops, iPods, they're all disposable products, basically.

Plus I, like many others here, like to look at the packaging for albums and CDs and tapes, and browse through them looking for something to play.

That said, digital files have their place, mainly for populating an mp3 player or iPod. I don't have a music server, but maybe someday. It would still be a backup to a "real" stereo, for me.

I like both, basically.

Sent by J Brokaw | 10:16 AM | 5-1-2008

I love vinyl. Yes, it really does sound better, though I often buy CDs because it's more convenient. I have to travel 15 miles to get to a record store but I can get CDs a mile away. It's not cause I'm old - I just turned 20. I like listening to the album from start to end. To me, to separate individual songs out is like taking a sentence out of a paragraph, or focusing on only one scene on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. It's how they fit together that makes the tracks magical. I also like the premeditated, intentional process of going through my collection and picking out the perfect album for the moment, looking at the art, and playing it. I want to choose what I listen to, not have the computer generate a random play list for me. I think that digital play lists are novelties without substance. Again, records are supposed to be listened to start to finish, as a whole, complete work of art. I don't rip any of my stuff, nor do I use an MP3 player.

Sent by Nathan | 12:05 PM | 5-1-2008

I am the producer for the band Thousands of One. We recently finished a record that is noticeably quieter than the majority of music in the modern market. In the phase of music production known as mastering, there now exists a mode of operation which is based on the question from the engineer that goes like this: "Do you want this loud and iPod ready? or do you want it to sound 'good'?" The guys voted for "good"... thank God! Sad to say.. but music today is engineered to overcome low bit rates, so you don't hear that hissy sounding treble, rather than for subtlety and high performance stereo systems. It is odd to me that 20 years ago, engineering technology in the analogue format reached its pinnacle, and then the cool and popular guy named mp3 came and started this keg party. Finer wine for me... thanks!

Sent by Joel Blizzard | 2:16 AM | 5-4-2008

Interesting that we've reached a point where a guy from NPR can blog about committing massive copyright violation, and apparently nobody cares.

I'm pretty sure copyright does not allow you to purchase a CD, copy the music on the CD, then dispose of the CD.

Is it okay if I rip them to my iPod but then KEEP the CDs instead of giving them to my coworkers? If ripping to an iPod is illegal, then millions of people are in a whole lot of trouble... and iPod should probably be pulled from the shelves. - rh

Sent by mathew | 11:39 AM | 5-4-2008

Robin you make me sad. I would think someone like you would appreciate rooms overfilled with CDs. Working at a radio station I like having CDs around. I'll admit, I too, only listen to the actual CD once maybe twice, but I suppose I like getting something physical in exchange for my money and I'm a nostalgic romantic and I'll never give up my collection. I dream of one day being able to hand over a badass collection of [then] antique compact discs to my children. Never mind the uselessness they're still better than Beanie Babies.

Sent by Elise | 6:23 AM | 5-5-2008

This past year, I made a major shift in the way I approach music listening. I'm in my late 30s, so I grew up with several different formats - LP, cassette, and then CD. It was a revelation hearing "Revolver" on CD for the first time in 1986 and I'd been an avid CD buyer for the 20+ years since then. But now, the "romance" of the CD, such as it was, is gone for me. I'd gotten to the point where I'd buy a CD and play it exactly once - while ripping it to my mp3 collection. The physical format ceased to carry any more significance than the mp3s I was creating from it - it was just all zeros and ones in the end.

Now, I'll download music through subscription services like emusic.com, and if I like it enough, I'll also buy the album on LP (if it's available) - I don't bother with the CD any more if I can get a high-quality mp3 legally elsewhere. I've acquired some amazing records that way, from artists like Shearwater, Beach House, Raveonettes, My Brightest Diamond, Yo La Tengo, Stars...the list goes on and on. And the romance of buying music has totally returned for me.

Oh, and by the way Julia, vinyl is NOT dead. I've bought 30 new records this year alone!

Sent by Chris | 3:55 PM | 5-9-2008

I still buy CD's a bit - I like the better sound (yes, I rip Lossless), the feeling of a secure backup, and the artwork. I currently have a 30 gig iPod and move stuff on and off of it at a steady pace so I'm ripping and deleting on a regular basis. I also subscribe to eMusic. The $10/month gives me 40 songs which is a great price point to try new stuff out. I don't feel too bad if I don't like and delete it. iTunes I generally use only for single songs or things that are not available on disc (Tim Buckley's "Blue Afternoon" and "Starsailor" are two that come to mind.) As for vinyl, I still have 700 - 800 albums. Occasionally I digitize a few but usually just play them at home. At this point, as much as I love the big 12" I probably would only buy new vinyl if it was something I couldn't get any other way. Admittedly, my 1,500 cd's are taking way too much room but my wife and I have committed to putting most of them into binders as we renovate our living room!

Sent by Jeremy Shatan | 2:45 PM | 5-13-2008

Quick thought to those that worry about a hard drive failure... external drives are cheap and getting cheaper. For the love of god... Make a backup! (I personally keep a backup of my backup at a separate location in case of fire/theft. It takes a long time to rip 28,000 songs...)

Sent by S | 6:07 PM | 5-27-2008

I am a sound engineer by trade, and I really don't want to become acclimated to yet ONE MORE compressed format. I schlep at least a hundred cd's with me, on the road. I still miss the physical pleasure of an album cover, the tactile experience of placing a vinyl record on a turntable, the artwork and liner notes. The idea of exclusively downloading music, of having no physical representation of the arduous creative process, is to me a depressing idea. Declaring the cd to be a "dead" medium, simply because some find it easier to download music straight to an mp3 player,or a computer, is the conclusion of one who deems 'ones and zeros' to be as real a thing as an album, a book, a 'home-cooked' meal. I'll gladly cling to my archaic preference.

Sent by Matt McShane | 1:11 AM | 6-11-2008

I've digitalized my music collection so I can have it easily portable. I keep my external hard drive at work so I can listen to my collection there also. But I hang on to all of my CDs and I've only purchased one downloadable album. I definately prefer to have a physical copy of the album so I can look at liner notes and read lyrics as I'm listening. Like other people who've commented, I also buy new vinyl records. I also digitalize those, though it takes longer. mp3s are convenient but I much prefer the higher quality of a CD and the still higher quality of a clean, well cared for vinyl record.

Sent by Grant | 12:50 PM | 6-19-2008

I would also tend to agree with the author, though upon closer examination, I believe such an approach is less than desirable. I like to have a tangible object, a beautiful set of liner notes (and the smell of the ink when you crack them open for the first time, irreplaceable,) and a deeper, more personal connection to the art that went into creating the soundtrack of my life.

I can understand the Buddhist desire to streamline one's life, however I feel it is silly to purge one's life of such cultural objects so willy nilly. Sure digitization has made purchasing CD's all but obsolete, but look at it this way: did the invention of the library stop the purchasing of books? Though I have a library card (and access to the third largest library system in the country,) I still buy books, lots of them. I love the connection to the author and the aesthetics of having shelves of books. I have an unlimited text plan, does that mean that I have stopped communicating the old fashioned way- talking on the phone? No. I have an e-mail account, does that mean I have stopped writing letters? Again, no. I believe the abandonment of tradition for convenience will be the death knell of our culture. We have already all but abandoned of the newsprint tradition in favor of convenient television- and look where that's gotten us.

Sent by Ryan Adserias | 6:24 PM | 6-20-2008

I download only music I can't get on CD, used LP, or can't afford because it is out of print or imported. I have hundreds of CD's and will only stop buying them when I can no longer get them or play them.

Sent by Dana M. Colvin | 8:57 PM | 6-20-2008

I buy the sheet music and play it on the piano. What are CD's

Sent by John | 6:58 PM | 6-22-2008

I'm almost 40, but I teach high school, so I'm always in contact with Gen Y. I'm all for getting rid of CDs. Yes, I still have a sizable collection tucked under the bed, and yes I occasionally buy one (when it's not available on e-music. However, I see CD's as a dying format. Why try to fight the inevitable.

Sent by John Draper | 7:25 PM | 6-22-2008

few years ago the boyfriend of my stepdaughter stood in front of my admittedly overstuffed floor-to-ceiling bookcase of CDs and declared "All this would fit into an iPod." all I could think to say was "What happens when you lose your iPod?" in this case, what happens when your hard drive crashes or is stolen? I believe declarations of the imminent demise of the CD are premature. not long ago the vinyl LP was similarly declared, and yet once-a-month every summer 100s of young vinyl junkies crowd my garage to shell out sometimes obscene amounts of money for such relics. what it comes down to is 'the thing itself,' the physical object you can hold, read the liner notes while you listen to it etc. ripping all your music to a hard drive is the equivalent of converting all your books to that new Amazon gizmo. I mean, I'd like one of those because they look fun indeed but they'll never replace the heft & warmth of a first edition. of course, what do I know, I still make mix tapes...

Sent by Dave Cantrell | 6:43 PM | 6-23-2008

We've done the same thing with our music, putting everything on computer, but we've kept the CDs as backup copies. We did get rid of all the cases and put the CDs in albums, which saved tons of space. But serious caution! Buy another storage drive to use as a backup! We had everything uploaded to a Maxtor and life was good until the thing crashed. We lost about half our music and had to load it all up again when we got a replacement from them. Once done, we vowed never again, and we now have our music collection on two storage drives, plus the original CDs in storage notebooks (yes, we burn CD backup copies of music we purchase online as well) just in case.

Sent by Andie Reid | 7:33 PM | 6-24-2008

I will never buy another CD. Music collecting is a lot of work. From the days of cases upon cases of heavy albums to what I thought was going to the space saver of CDs, my collection has always taken up a significant amount of room. I recently digitized the lot (well, nearly done) and now it takes up a significant amount of hard drive space. As said previously, having multiple backups if essential. I keep a copy at home that gets backed up weekly and a copy ay work. The iPod is my traveling collection that is not complete but has a majority of the collection. I've never had an issue with quality of the encodes and if I need lyrics I can always look them up online faster than I can find the CD. The print is always too small and in some crazy font anyway on the liner notes. The ability to search the collection by song and by artist makes the digi-collection so much more usable to me. I kept all the CDs in folders but those horrible CD caes had to go. I never thought that was a good design anyway. So hard, cold and inconvenient. I still have one crate of rare vinyl that I don't think I will ever get rid of. I miss the days of full sized art that albums provided. The art online is much more viewable than the small art of CDs.

Sent by David Maloney | 9:27 AM | 6-25-2008

I am from the US and currently live in a small Australian town where a new release album/cd costs nearly $30. Same album on itunes, $10. Record stores are putting themselves out of business, at least in Australia. When I get home however, I will happily pay $15 in any local record shop to get a tangible copy........Support your local record shop!, but not at $30 an album!

Sent by BD | 6:25 PM | 6-25-2008

I still buy CD's. I can hear an OBVIOUS loss of sound quality on MP3's. Nothing beats that clear sound of the compact disc. I will not use MP3's anymore. CD's are it for me.

Sent by Tim Foley | 7:12 PM | 6-25-2008

I still buy almost all my music on CD, for reasons which have mostly been mentioned above:

Sound quality.
I like the artwork, lyrics and the whole hard copy experience.
My music collection is almost all on disc, so I feel a commitment to the medium.

I have most of my discs stored in binders, which saves a lot of space and keeps me organized. Discs that have really unique packaging, like Arcade Fire's Funeral or Dan Zanes's Night Time!, stay in their original sleeves.

I do like downloading, and I love my iPod for traveling. Digital music is obviously becoming the prevailing medium, if it isn't already. I think this is mainly a positive thing, because digital has less environmental impact and it provides instant gratification.

I think CDs will become a niche item, kind of like what vinyl LPs are now. Some people will still buy and collect them, but they will be somewhat difficult to come by. I would also guess that the deluxe editions which are trendy now will become the standard, and maybe only, way CDs are offered. Soon it may be, buy the special-edition CD with bonus tracks, or just buy the basic edition as a download. Some artists, like Sun Kil Moon, do this already.

Anyway, as long as we can all get our hands on the music we love, and as long as it sounds great, it's all good in my book.

Sent by Chris Popp | 11:59 AM | 6-26-2008

It's so weird that I just read this, because I was talking about this last week. For some reason, my CD collection has gotten bigger in recent months. I recieved my first iPod as a gift in February, and for some reason since then, I have felt more inclined to buy CDs then to go on iTunes and shop. Ever since I started using my iPod, I've been more "plugged in", so I think the act of shopping for CDs in a store is almost theraputic and relaxing as opposed to pointing and clicking for music.

Sent by Alexis | 1:20 PM | 6-26-2008

I'd be happy to dump CD's if you could download tracks in a lossless format. As a middle-aged audiophile, I choose not to pay for an inferior format.

Sent by Tim L | 9:35 PM | 6-30-2008

Our present future .. people walking around with little white earbuds listening to music they don't actually like.

I think the real issue is the way people discover music now. Not the same as being the young kid in a record store growing and bonding with your record store clerk. Grabbing music by the piles, not even looking at the names. Allmusic is nice, but not the same.

Now people have to search for what they are looking for, .. so of course they are going to "like" their music, they picked it out, .. how could they disagree with themselves?

Music distribution is missing that certain "wtf?" that it used to. Like someone making you a sandwich with an ingrediant you commonly dislike, and finding out that you love it. (peanut butter and molasis??)

ON TOPIC - I think no matter what people say. They will always in the end... want something tangible. Like a lesbian that knows she needs to be filled.

Sent by daniel | 2:42 PM | 7-2-2008

Downloading music completely takes away the whole experience of listening to music. I switched back to buying real CDS 9 months ago. Two months ago, I bougth a record player and now I listen to music on vinyl. It's just a totally different sound, but you'd have to really be into music to get it.

Sent by Mary Poppins | 7:59 PM | 7-2-2008

This is one instance in which evolution has totally blown it, IMO. I own close to 2,500 CD's and love them so much I have taken them with me from my parents' house, to my college dorm, then on to my apartment, then back to my parents' house, then on to the first apartment my wife and I bought, then to our house, and we actually move again soon... and my CD's are moving with me again!! I love flipping through my collection, taking out the artwork and reading the liner notes, etc. Albums are cohesive works of art.

To me, the swith to MP3 represents the death of the album, pure and simple. MP3's are designed for a quick and easy listening experience, and are more geared towards singles than albums. I own an iPod, and have it crammed with 14,000 tracks, but find that, especially for albums of classical music, jazz or even spoken word/comedy, the MP3 is a poor format.

I usually download stuff I'm not gonna buy, which is really around 5% of my iPod's tracks. I have re-burnt every one of these downloaded tracks back to CD, so I can shelve them with the other one, and so I can work around the absurd DRM's 3-computer limit, in case my Mac dies.

For music lovers who love to spend entire days in record stores, flipping through albums, this is a nightmarish trend. I am amazed you folks at All Songs Considered have kow-towed to this trend!!

Sent by Carlos R. Pastrana | 12:23 PM | 7-3-2008

One thing you can always do to keep the audio quality of cd's high is to check the options of the program you are ripping with and making sure it is set to .wav format. I recently posted an article about the death of vinyl for DJ's if you are interested you can read it here http://www.electronicmusicsource.com/electronic-music/the-end-of-an-era-and-the-digital-dj

Sent by William | 5:26 AM | 7-5-2008

Its funny I just unloaded about 100 cd's at my local used record store because I have not listened to my CD's since I bought an Ipod. I have an 80GB Ipod and have only 15 gb free. I agree that local public libraries are great resources. I only recently bought the new Coldplay cd with the intent of putting it in Itunes and reselling it on ebay to get most of my money back. The only other cd's I buy are hard to find Jazz (my fav genre) CD's.

There is one thing I will say, every time a music format changes, we lose music. As a big time jazz head, some stuff is only available on vinyl. It was never even transferred to cassette. Also, with the "album" concept possibly going out with the CD format, those great "complete recordings" boxed sets might go with it. That would be a shame, as I love those box sets. That is the stuff I am definitely keeping. In fact it seems to be the only stuff that really holds its value, along with tough to find vinyl.

Sent by Miguel | 5:26 AM | 7-7-2008

True music listeners will want to keep their collection of cd's and records. I for one am torn between needing the space [ I have huge collection of cd's ] and all that great info that comes with the cd.This gives the listener a connection with the artist and the music. Today,music has become a disposable medium . A quick download at 192kps or less and your done. In my opinion this sounds horrible. The better the sound system ,the worse it sounds. I am a serious listener and refuse to reduced myself to this . I am going to skip this download craze until the market is saturated , then the new thing will be cd quality sound for your download.The music market has skipped people like me for the quick buck.So for now my music is on hard drives in loss less format , but I am keeping the cd's and records. When I can't get high quality music I stop listening.

Sent by Ken McDonald | 10:04 AM | 7-8-2008

I download and buy CD's but most of the CD money goes to local record shops that stock local and / or quirky bands that don't usually make it to the big box stores, on line or brick and morter.

Sent by Deb | 2:30 PM | 7-9-2008

Before moving to a small Caribbean island to start school, and having to cram all my belongings in two suitcases, I had a realization: I couldn't haul my CD's with me (though I owned a mp3 player, it was rarely used; mostly because I hadn't ripped my CD's to it...admittedly out of laziness). Due to the immediacy of my move coupled with this realization, I spent hours at night over the course of a week, ripping my entire collection to an mp3, not touching a CD since.

But that doesn't mean that the CD's aren't on my mind. They found a way to make sure that I remembered them every time I booted up my mp3. The CD's speak to me every time I relive Nirvana's "In Utero" or Radiohead's "The Bends." Through some fault (or possibly, more correctly, fidelity) of the ripping program, the skips in the music, products of years of wear-and-tear (technical term "scratches") on the CD's found their way onto my mp3. Oddly enough, I hardly noticed the differences at first, because I was so used to repeating certain lyrics or hearing an extra drum beat from these imperfections. But just as quickly as I thought to replace the songs with an Internet download, I restrained myself. I realized those imperfect versions of the songs gave them some personal character that was irreplaceable, something that IS tangible in the rip transfer, and (interestingly, minutely saddening) something that is going to be lost when the CD has died completely.

Sent by Brian | 1:39 AM | 7-11-2008

I have read each of these comments, and am a little surprised that no one mentioned that if hard copies of music became unavailable, new music would become unavailable to a goodly proportion of the world population. The realities of finance do not guarantee a PC in every household. Much less a back up drive. While I have uploaded most of my CD collection to my computer, and use it, I don't expect it to last forever. I'm keeping the hard copies as insurance against hard times. To paraphrase Freewheelin' Franklin, "Music will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no music". I am not sure of being able to update technologically in the times ahead. I'm an old hippy and I feel much more wealthy with a few stacks of CDs.

Sent by Ellen Howlett | 5:32 AM | 7-17-2008

Count me in both camps - growing up as part of the vinyl generation, an album to me is itself a medium of artistic expression--which includes the cover artwork and liner notes, to discard them whether through deliberate tossing them and the jewel cases into a trash can or purchasing only the mp3, imho renders the artists' work incomplete.

That said, my iPod completely reinvigorated my relationship with music and has allowed me to discover many new bands I would never have had the time or money to discover.

But keeping "thousands" of CDs doesn't make sense either. With that many CDs, there's no way to accord the attention that's due a great album. I have owned thousands of CDs over the years, but have never had more than three or four hundred at a time. This for me is manageable number. Each year I cull my collection and have an honest assessment of what I'm actually listening to.

Long live the lp as one of the great formats of artistic expression.

Sent by Ed | 11:53 AM | 7-17-2008

One last comment on mp3 quality. Part of the issue could be the general suckiness fo the iPod earbuds. If listened to with decent earphones or on a decent docking system, such as Bose, 320 for me is the way to go. Though if I am at home, I usually put in the CD.192 sucks - anything below 256 isn't worth owning.

Sent by Ed | 11:59 AM | 7-17-2008

I as well have ripped all my CD's to my computer and discarded all but a very few, just because not having any CD's seemed strange, couldn't let go all the way, really jsut kept enough to have as a conversation piece and indicator of my musical taste for guests. I now only buy music digitally. The loss of sound quality is transparent to me, and the trade off of not being overrun by plastic cases and discs and the freedom of playlists and the ease of going from The Beatles to Public Enemy to Prince to Radiohead in less than 2-3 seconds is just too appealing to stick to CD's. Plus, vinyl is the ultimate audiophiles format, and does indeed sound the best with an obscene amount of expensive equipment. CD's are the odd man out. See ya!

Sent by Matthew | 4:47 PM | 7-20-2008

If you think the compact disc is dying think about vinyl, come one, one of the greatest ways to listen to music and its on life support, another thing, the compact disc is beautiful you can get things with it that you cannot with your hard drive, the artwork, the notes from the artist, and every once and a while you can get a free booklet of the lyrics, its just like reading poems from a book, you cant give up on the compact disc, you cannot give up hope that vinyl will wake from its coma and you cannot absolutely cannot underestimate the powers of a mix tape

Sent by maddie | 1:58 AM | 8-4-2008

I refuse to ditch CDs or vinyl, although I've ripped all my discs to redundant hard drives. It's not the physicality of the media (although I do prefer that aspect) or the sound quality (although digital is inferior in any format, lossless or no). It's the growing abandonment of long-form musical works. I just love albums. I love how "Revolution 9" is virtually unlistenable crap, and yet is indispensible to the White Album. I love how "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" has moments so quiet as to be virtually inaudible, but then the next track comes on and blows out your speakers. I love how "Being There" hangs together so well, while at the same time providing a different feel on each disc. I love "album tracks" -- the ones that get ignored when the greatest hits comps come out. You know, sometimes those are the songs artists really love and want us to hear -- despite the fact that the hits eclipse them. Do you think Dylan released Blonde on Blonde and thought "Sad Eyed Lady" was just a throwaway tune? As we devolve back into a singles-based music industry, I can only hope that there are enough artists out there who believe in the album as its own special form that we'll continue to get a new "Odelay" or "OK Computer" or "It Takes a Nation of Millions..." every few years.

Sent by A Tegethoff | 5:24 PM | 8-11-2008

Curious to know what bit rate you're ripping into your hd. Doesn't seem like you're into sound quality anyway as you're still listening to the initial pressing of The Wall!?
Until mainstream downloadable formats step up in quality, I will always buy CDs and vinyl.

Sent by scott p | 9:17 AM | 8-23-2008

Hope you're hard drive doesn't crash, or you have at least backed it all up. Can't really say I agree with your choice, but then again, I relish the mediums and technologies of the past, no matter how archaic and antiquated. It is interesting you said nothing about vinyl records in your article.

Sent by Zachary | 7:19 AM | 9-7-2008

I never warmed up to CD's since they seemed a large step down from vinyl records, which i still have. CD's seemed like a way for the Music Industrialists to make more money for less product. Who can see the art or read the lyrics on a CD?? Garbage! I remember they used to say that CD's had such better sound quality than vinyl. I say rubbish. I look forward to the time when musical entities such as Pandora can flourish, but until we kill the Capitalist Music Monster we will never get there. More power to the independents who simply want to share their creations with the world and not get rich from it. Music should not be owned by Businessmen Capitalists who want to control the artist and make money for themselves from something beautiful.

Sent by jack53 | 3:00 PM | 9-17-2008