The Morning After


A & E



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December 04, 2007


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The thing I find most disappointing about downloads vs. CD’s is what will we hand down to our children? Do you really think we’ll be hanging on to those Apple I-tunes 20 years from now??? …. so lame …. I hate the future.

Matt Sledge

My entire music collection is digital, and has been since 2003. Having an iPod made the decision easy for me to do so. Most of everything I buy now is straight from iTunes.

I still have a few actual CD's, but nowhere near the 800 or so I used to have before I went digital.

The only CD's I really miss are the ones that make up the (former) 97X (and now) collection. It's utterly fascinating.

dave p.

I made the move to MP3s almost four years ago (wrote about it here: I always loved having our 1,000+ CD collection in the living room, displayed loud and proud, and I thought I might miss the physical product. But I quickly got past that, and since then, the only actual CDs I've purchased are jazz reissues (with great liner notes), a couple box sets, and a few that I've bought at shows.

I didn't purge my CDs, but they're packed away in folders (I got rid of the cases) in some closet upstairs. As you said, it's nice to have the space back. ;-)


I'm with you PD. It's kind of funny to think about leaving my daughter my entire music collection — on a microchip.

Interesting to hear that, Dave and Matt. You guys are real musicheads (and old like me) — I would think you would have more dedication to the format. I think I'm just stubborn. And I don't know that I actually HEAR it (I'm no audiophile), but I can't shake the feeling that something is missing in the sound quality of MP3s. I know it's been talked about a lot by genuine audiophiles. But who am i to talk — I listen to most of my music on a boombox or headphones and completely lack any kind of "booming" stereo system in my house.

I also have a great distrust of technology. I know you can back-up until the cows come home, but I'm so afraid some great electrical storm will come along and erase everything.

Ultimately, I think I'm just overly neurotic (about everything, but music especially)

dj empirical

you said:

> though I think Jazz sounds better on vinyl

due to the frickin over-compression nowadays, *everything* sounds better on vinyl, since you can't get away with that compression on vinyl. (this goes mostly for major-label stuff, natch).

and dont worry about "handing down" your music collection -- you're really just handing down information.

don't cry for the cd, and i won't cry for the horse-and-buggy.

(full disclosure: i have about 3500+ cds, and another 1000 vinyl)

Steve Carter-Novotni

I always scratched my discs and trashed cassettes. I'm very hard on anything I own, so I was glad to have the chance to ditch packaged media. I converted mine and my wife's collection to mp3 in 2002 and haven't looked back. Now I can hear my music without tracks skipping or the cd player freezing up.


I can't accept that music is just information. I could read a book online now. But i'd much prefer to read a first edition that was my great grandparents'. But I know what you mean.

Like I said, I won't really miss the CD. The ever-changing formats have made me not develop any attachments (and I grew up in the age of vinyl and 8-tracks). And there's little character, other than the tiny artwork and packaging (which can be interesting on some occasions, pointless on most). I guess people will always be nostalgic though — I tear up a little every time I pull an old mix cassette out of a box in my basement. Then I realize that I'm tearing up because it's covered in dust and getting to my allergies. And then I don't listen to it anyway, because it sounds like crap.

I just wish I had some way of playing all these damn mini-discs I stocked up on 15 years ago.

Dave Davis

I still have/buy CDs, but mostly because it's my job.

Most of what I listen to is ripped losslessly to iTunes, and lives on a 300G hard disk (actually two - I have a back up at home for the day the main drive fails!). When I put it on iPods, especially my shuffle, I squish them, but otherwise, I prefer the sound of uncompressed music.

I never really missed vinyl, and even the current resurgence makes me yawn. I simply prefer my music sans hiss, clicks and pops (to say nothing of the ever-wobbly time base of the lathe/turntable combo).

Unfortunately there is no digital-only option that is even close to the CD in terms of quality. Conventional iTunes and streamed tracks aren't in the ballpark, although Amazon's 256K tracks are getting there. For me, data compression is a much larger problem than DRM. I'd live with DRM, if they'd sell me lossless tracks (a red herring - unrelated concepts of course!). For now I'm still stuck with CDs.



I'm buying myself a USB turntable this Christmas. Tired of having crates of vinyl that I can't listen to. Call me crazy or just old fashioned (or stupid, if you like) but I love the old-old-school format. Jazz sounds perfect on vinyl, but so does all that old punk rock (which is mostly out of print and not available in any format) and my Neil Young "On The Beach" record. Plus the artwork will always remain superior to that of CD, or digital download (IMHO). (Plus, have you ever tried to sift seeds using a CD case!?) I guess when it comes to practicality, however, I am guilty of ripping my CD's to PC, storing them wherever they fit (i.e. bins, cabinets, the car) and running around town with my iPod...Um...what were we talking about again?

C.A. Mac of my fondest memories with my brother was when we'd hide down in the basement and play 45s on a crapola player while we were supposed to be doing homework or in bed. Sometimes, we played 8 tracks too. Dusty ones that often didn't work. We had a bunch of instruments...I don't even know where they came from, including various percussion elements, very annoying, a flute, a keyboard, and other exciting "bang, bang" stuff. We'd play along and sound horribly loud.

I think my first cassette was Weird Al or Cyndi Lauper or something weird. Before that, we were all about records in the house. My bro was the one who gave me my first Pearl Jam cassette. Yes, Ten.

I don't remember my first CD. That's interesting. But I am attached to album art.

I too have a boom box. No special sound system for me. I am not protesting change...I am broke as shit. ha. someone hand me the goods, & I'd be all about futuristic living. ha

love, c


i've actually been thinking about this recently. for awhile, i was dead-set against going digital and getting rid of my cd collection. faced with the possibility of moving to another city for grad school or even just moving somewhere else in the area this summer, i don't know that i want to pack all my cds (somewhere around 800) plus my cassettes and vinyl for the millionth time. i've been thinking about getting an external hard drive and putting everything on that and selling/giving away all my discs. (well, except anything that's signed.)

i've also found that i'm trading mixes via sendspace or yousendit more frequently than mailing someone a disc. and with something like google docs, it's so easy to share a tracklist and/or your own liner notes for a mix. maybe it's less personal than making artwork for a mix, but it certainly saves on blanks and postage and whatever else is involved.

a part of me feels somewhat guilty, since i still love independent record stores and i love perusing the options. but at the same time, i think retail (and the music industry in general) has to start thinking about how to compete with itunes and amazon. i think retail will probably have to become more lifestyle-oriented, like shake it and newbury comics have become, and will probably have to think about download kiosks and the like. but that's just my two cents.

and ps - there's a fascinating wired interview with trent reznor that has been making the rounds and he discusses a lot of these issues as they relate to year zero, experiencing music, and the industry in general. great stuff. click here:

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