My collection isn’t QUITE that extensive.

There was a time, not long ago, when you could reliably go into someone’s house and browse through their music collection to get a sense of the music they liked. Gone are the days when you could flip through someone’s 45s. Long gone. But there there was ALWAYS a CD shelf. Or, before that:

  • A drawer of cassette tapes
  • A carousel of 8-tracks
  • A milk crate of vinyl.

In that way, music was part of our shared experience; it was there in the home to inform you about your friends.

That era has passed. With mp3s, music is now hidden away on hard drives. The speakers of choice are ear buds. Listening is done in private, on the way to work or school. It’s rare to hear someone else’s music – with the exception of house parties. And even then, it’s only a small sample of their tunes, usually skewed to favour an up-tempo mix.

Without having an in depth conversation – there’s no way to know what kind of audiophile your friends are. I miss that. It took away one of my favorite conversation starters. “Oh, you have !”

I still have my CDs on display – mostly because there are so many of them that I don’t have the time or hard drive space to store them all digitally. Plus half my collection is classical music and that just doesn’t belong on cruddy computer speakers or compressed into mp3 format.

A Partial Convert
Pop music is another story. I’ve imported most of my pop CDs (although I still can’t bring myself to archive them in a box). And all the new radio-friendly length music I get is digital – anything that fits the 3-minute format. The upside there is that I no longer spend money on full CDs that invariably include only a handful of good songs. I do still buy the odd CD though – especially to fill in the gaps in my classical music collection.

I would like to get rid of the CDs – it would not only lead to additional space in the house and would stop me looking like someone who simply can’t let go of the past. But until I find a better solution for maintaining a fairly complete library of classical music – or until someone steals them – I guess I’m destined to be shackled to my CD shelves.

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2 responses »

  1. jandjsmum says:

    You know- this is such a great point. And not only could you see what your friends listened to, or borrow CDs, but I personally miss the hours I would spend going to Sam the Record Man (I was saddened to see that it is gone now on Younge Street this past trip home- saddened, but not surprised) or half priced books…..I do miss being able to read the liner notes of records or even CDs…..I miss not buying full albums because, even though there were duds, there were albums that had that one song that spoke to me (Nightswimming from Automatic For the People- REM and MLK from U2s Unforgettable Fire come to mind). Would I have discovered these songs otherwise? These 2 songs in particular have been huge for me in my life. MP3 is great for the most part, but I also miss the way it used to be. I guess Im a curmudgeon.

    • RoC(k)r says:

      I don’t think it’s curmudgeonly to like to have a tangible product associated with an intangible one (music). Clearly mp3s have some advantages too – there are plusses on both sides. I always loved CDs (because I grew up with tapes and CDs made it so much easier to skip to the song i wanted) but LPs were better in some ways because of the size afforded to artwork and liner notes. I’ve bought albums from itunes that came with liner notes as a pdf and it’s not quite the same. It’s crisp, but I need to be sitting at my computer (or with an ipad) in order to read them. It’s limiting. I think we have yet to hit the single ideal system yet, so we need to stick with a hybrid system for now.

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