People In Their Thirties Can’t Stop Hoarding CDs

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I swear, I used to be cool. There was a time I cared a lot about music, which is the thing you care about when you’re cool. And now I’m old and not cool and don’t really care anymore and I mostly just listen to the radio or the Spotify top 50 while I’m at the gym. And even though I don’t care, I still have a box of my old CDs under my bed that I haven’t touched in years.

This box represents my musical taste from high school and college, approximately 1996–2004. It’s horrible. I’m deeply embarrassed by this box. At the time, I thought I had very cool taste in music, but a lot of that era has not aged well, and some of the buzzy bands of the early aughts have faded into obscurity (Longwave, anyone?). I’ll be blunt: There’s a lot of mid-’90s ska revival… More at BuzzFeed.

I know a few people who still buy all of their music on CD. For starters, they see more value in having a physical product and secondly, they just love CDs.

I own no CDs at all now apart from my Queen collection. All of my music if digital and it’s starting to get to the point that I am only streaming it these days. I own little music which is kind of sad.

One thought on “People In Their Thirties Can’t Stop Hoarding CDs

  1. Allegedly Japan still has a big love for the format – https://qz.com/711490/why-japan-has-more-music-stores-than-the-rest-of-the-world/ – though some people on the ground via Quara don’t seem to agree.

    CDs were the pinnacle of album technology. As a guy who never acquired a taste for albums as more than a somewhat arbitrary collection of songs, I don’t miss ’em that much, though after ripping my collectiion en masse I kept a bunch for years (in 4 massive black binders, with the booklets carefully included too)

    Thinking about shuffle – I remember some CD players would offer shuffle, and some of those 3 or 5 disc carousel beasts would even do it across disks, though the wait between songs (clunk, whirrrrrrrr, clunk, spinnnnnn) was silly. Actually in terms of interacting with music, those carousels were weirdly unique, right? With LPs and cassette tapes and most CDs, each album stood alone, you physically got it off the shelf or rack, prepped it, and played – a bit of ritual, especially with vinyl… CD carousels invited a few attempts to optimize, like maybe you’d put in the next CD while the current one was playing (tricky! – sort of like ordering a series of songs on a jukebox) or you’d keep a couple of really loved particular CDs loaded in the other ones at all times, for fast-switching… mostly it was a mess. (Oh and some people had a similar multi-CD player for their car… though the ones where you’d have to go to the trunk/boot to swap seemed a lot weirder and less convenient to me than the traditional single disc reader in the console model.)

    CDs also have a special relationship to mixtapes. Some of it was timing in my life, but in general CD to tape mixtapes were more common than tape to tape or LP to tape. Being able to make a custom playlist was empowering. (Hm, actually when I assemble playlist like things now, whether for listening, or even in picking numbers for my street band to play in a show, I much prefer alternating paces. Maybe that preference for back to back diversity and contrast is why whole albums seemed less pleasurable to me.)

    Final nostalgia tinted analysis: for a while it was cooler to have a CD player than a tape deck in your car, at least once it was more or less affordable to burn mix CDs. But then when all music was in mp3s on a device, it was better to have a tape player so you could use of those funky adapters, since it took a while for car makers to put in an aux input, or (now) USB port.

    Man, had not thought about all this physicality in music for a while – so much of it so particular to rather brief eras!

    (and lets not talk about 8-tracks 😀

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