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AltWire Opinions: My Way Back To The Art or How I Undigitized My CD Collection

A few days ago, fellow AltWire author Emily wrote this great article about her love for Vinyl and it made me think about my own experiences with music. In the last few decades, digitization of music has led to a big change in the business and the listener’s experience. Don’t worry! This article won’t broach the subject of illegal downloads but rather it will concentrate on which medium makes us appreciate music the most – based on my own experience.

If I had taken a photo of my CD collection about 6 months ago, it would have looked like this: Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, S Club 7, Allure, Blaque, Jennifer Lopez, etc. It’s not that I get a kick out of collecting old trashy Pop CDs, but that I stopped buying physical CDs when I was about 19/20 years old (I’m 29 now – and will stay 29 for the next couple of years). As someone who usually listens to music with a mobile gadget (laptop, phone, mp3 player), I’ve fully switched to digital file formats pretty early. My digital collection has over 7,000 files – after I deleted records I didn’t listen to anymore.

From Zero...
From Zero…

When streaming services took over the digital music market, I was one of the first big fans of Spotify Premium. As someone who commutes to work, the fact that I have this huge library of music hidden in a little app, made Spotify extremely attractive for me. At the same time, I’m a music lover and I respect the work musicians put into their releases, so the reports about artists’ shares of their streamed music being ridiculously low annoyed me. Still, the benefits outweighed the doubts.

It was about 6 months ago, when I experienced a paradigm shift: a friend gifted me with a couple of CDs by some great artists like Green Day, Foo Fighters, Korn, Kings of Leon, etc. Now, with Spotify on my phone, I obviously “had” all those CDs but it felt good to put them into my CD rack and sort them by artist and music genre. Then I chose one of them – Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor – and listened to the full album while I was cleaning up my flat.
Honestly, how awesome is an album if you just let it play in the background? No skipping tracks or mutilating it into playlists! The problem of digitization isn’t only the fact that artists get less for their work, but also the trend that music is now mostly sold in small entities: instead of buying a full album, people often just buy a few songs on it.

Since that day, I’ve bought a lot of physical CDs. My last big purchase being the Who We Are Anthology CD Box by RED, and I’ve decided to slowly build up my collection – one CD at a time. On my way to work, I still use Spotify, but when I’m home my CD rack is waiting for me – ready to let me experience a band’s work in its entirety and with a good conscience that I’ve supported the musicians as best as I could.

...to Hero
…to Hero

I recommend this article, which makes starting a collection unnecessarily complicated, just for fun.

The way we experience music seems to depend on personal preference and experience. Do you enjoy vinyls like Emily, physical CDs like me or maybe a big iTunes library? Share your opinion in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. Tobias

    What if it old you you can listen to full albums on spotify to? 😉 I aswell love listening to albums from start to finish but also enjoy using shuffle on artist/albums to 🙂

    • Adie Klarpol

      Haha, of course I was aware that there are full albums on Spotify, but believe me, it is different. On Spotify, I start skipping after a while or skip to another album. The way I listen to music on Spotify is just more hectic, while listening to a CD is relaxing.

  2. Andreina

    I consider myself an amateur CD collector. I’ve always preferred physical copies (but I still get mp3s to avoid scratching them xD), because I love the experience on getting something new in your hands, having a look at the booklet to see the art and lyrics, and of course the music, it’s a little time you have with yourself to relax and enjoy a good album. Unfortunately I don’t listen to that many artists but I just choose to buy the albums from people I do know I like and enjoy.

    My collection will never be as big as many people’s out there but one thing I know for sure is that I love what I have and I hope to keep collecting some more. I hope physical copies never fade, digitalization makes me fear that!

    Great article.

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