Thursday, November 30, 2006

I’m Starting To Scare Myself

I’ve spent that last month or so loading my CD collection onto my computer. Before, I would load something, transfer it to my iPod then delete it from my hard drive. But, I recently got a new iPod for my birthday (black, 80 GB) and decided if I had to reload everything, I might as well do it once and for all. I bought a 320 GB SATA drive to increase my hard drive space on my computer to 400 GB. As Borat would say, "Very nice."

So, long story short, except for some "unofficial" recordings and some box sets, everything is on the computer. Over 15,000 songs.

But here is where I start scaring myself. My friend asked, "So, what are you going to do with all of your CDs?" And for a moment, I thought, "What am I going to do?"

I’ve always been a lover of the product. I don’t want a burned copy of an album with the title written in black Sharpie scrawled across it. I love the whole package. I want to read the liner notes, the lyrics, the credits. I want to own the tangible item. Over the past few years I have reduced my collection, trying to hone it to the essentials. I’ve gotten rid of more than 1,000 CDs towards this purpose and I am always looking for reasons to further thin the herd. But to completely get rid of CDs simply because I have them stored on my computer?

The horror. I mean, "THE HORROR."

Embracing the digital revolution and the iPod was for portability, not to further the obsolesce of CDs. I still consider an "album" as a statement. It should be a unified whole, not purchased for a single.

But with the tragic failure of Tower Records and my (only) monthly sojourns to Ameoba, I cannot always satisfy my need for immediate gratification. So I keep thinking that if I want something, I can just download it from iTunes. Previously, the iTunes store was a way to get "that one song" or take advantage of some of the exclusive offerings, but to download an album instead of going to the store or purchasing from an online retailer seems so antithetical to my whole way of thinking.

And, yet, more and more, that is my way of thinking. As a compromise, I even considered boxing them all up and putting them in the garage.

This madness must stop. I like the way the industry works, or used to. I don’t want everything to be a digital download and artists to focus on single songs. I want albums. I want brick and mortar. I want to look at a new release rack and find something I wasn’t aware of.

And what about my actual vinyl records. I still buy them. Why?

I feel like a dinosaur.

For what it’s worth, here are the last 10 songs played on my iPod:
1. "I Can’t Turn You Loose" by the Plimsouls
2. "Hang My Teeth On Your Door" by 16 Horsepower
3. "Straight to Hell" by the Clash
4. "Stars for Eyes" by Sebadoh
5. "Whiskey Bottle" by Uncle Tupelo
6. "Drinking for Two" by Mudhoney
7. "Fish On (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II)" by Primus
8. "Blowin’ In The Wind" by Bob Dylan
9. "In Shades" by Tom Waits
10. "Hungry Wolf" (live) by X


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