Why My CD Collection is Growing in an Era of Digital Music

Just over a week ago an article published by an NPR intern regarding her music library (and how little of it is legal) went viral.  This article, published by Emily White on the All Songs Considered music blog has sparked a series of responses from many individuals within the music industry, artists, critics and fans alike.

While I do fundamentally disagree with White’s opinions and support those held by many of the musicians and artists who have responded to her argument, I find I disagree with White most strongly over the issue of our increasingly digital age.  I am a few years younger than White and have grown up in the same digitally oriented generation as she has, but I must admit, I’m a fan of the CD.  My collection is small, about 20 CDs at the moment, and I have probably bought more albums from the archives of iTunes than I have from the shelves of the local HMV.  Still, I cherish the hard copies I own and intend to buy more.  In an age when everyone craves something digital, I love my CDs.

Now I don’t deny that forward motion is a good thing.  CDs have a much more negative impact on the environment than mp3s, particularly when people decide to throw them out into the garbage rather than sending them to a local thrift store or selling them at a garage sale.  And though some of us will likely continue to cling to our 3D friends, I am certain that we will one day take our rightful place amongst lovers of papyrus scrolls and devotees of vinyl- forever in the past.  Yet there is something to be said for the CD, for its physical presence and its crisp sound.  For the sensation of placing it in a CD player and waiting for it to start playing.  Admittedly, people still feel the same about their LPs, and I’m a critic of their devotion to something so evidently archaic.  (I also acknowledge that digital music quality improves by the day, and has already surpassed that of the CD).  Still I stand by my collection, even though I can’t make a good case for my behaviour.

I like my CDs.  I like my books.  Yes, I own an iPod, and yes I’d like to own an eReader, if only for the sheer practicality of such things.  I’m not sure what the future of non-digital media is, and I know that CDs and paper-bound books are likely to fade from our world some time in the future, but I hope that when they do I won’t be around to see it.  I recognize that the future is digital, but I’m not entirely content with this realization.  Until I die, I will continue to pay for CDs, wherever and whenever I can.

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About Helen (etaunknown)

An undergrad at the University of British Columbia, studying Anthropology and all the kinds of history they didn't teach me in school (concentrations in Indigenous and Environmental History(s)), my blogs are mainly places where I talk about academia, travel, and writing. I've been blogging in one form or another for the last 7 years, from angsty teenage poetry (no, I won't link you to that particular blog) to thoughts on religion, books, music and academia. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and while I use my two main wordpress blogs as places to post a lot of my writing, I'm also busily at work on a novel (or three), some longer narrative essays, some short stories and as ever, some poetry. If you want to know more, please email me at etaunknownwrites@gmail.com
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2 Responses to Why My CD Collection is Growing in an Era of Digital Music

  1. Michael says:

    I wish there’d be a website where a not-so-well-known artist can sell their music and 100% of the profits go to the actual artist and not a large company which obtains some ridiculous percentage of the profit. Or donates something like 10% to charity. I would definitely buy from that website as opposed to paying just as much, and funding apple’s iPhone 6, with a slightly longer display and an extra row for apps. The current state of the digital music industry is infuriating. You don’t even “own” the music you buy from iTunes- it’s loaned to you until the day you die. CD’s are the smarter choice.

  2. I was under the impression that bandcamp had a policy something like that (I think you keep the profits until you reach a certain threshold of sales, but I might be wrong). Also, you can set up your own website with a paypal account, but that’s not ideal for getting your music heard. But you’re right- there isn’t really any great system of purchasing digital music if one doesn’t want to fund Mac’s global empire.

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