I’m Thinking About Getting Rid Of My Physical Music Collection. Hold Me.
I own a lot of CDs. You remember those things, don’t you? After the cassette tape and before Apple changed the music game, CDs were what was hot on the streets. I still remember my first few purchases. After seeing the movie Juice, I talked my dad into buying me Cypress Hill’s debut album. Then came TLC’s Oooh…On The TLC Tip. I still have those CDs, some 20-plus years later.
That’s the problem. I still have all of my CDs. And I’m thinking about getting rid of them. All of them.
See, for the past five years, I’ve been travelling with unopened boxes of CDs. There was a point in time where I’d keep my CD’s on display. I had racks on racks on racks of them. And since I have possibly a couple thousand of them, they made quite the display. But then the world changed and all of music became digital and I got external hard drives and packed those full of music during the time when there were tons of sites that had old albums turned into .mp3 files. So when I moved into a new apartment in 2010, I left all of my CDs in the boxes I’d packed them into since they were going to take up unnecessary space. Never opened those boxes once and when I moved into my house I did the same. I stored them in a corner of a room in my house where they are right now.
In college, I went on a CD buying binge. Every week, me and one of my boys would hit up the Circuit City (RIP) at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta and buy four or five CDs at a time. Every week. They had lots of CDs on sale so we definitely bought a lot of trash, but it was my trash. I love music and the more music I purchased the happier I was. And that hasn’t changed. I still consume music at a remarkable clip, but the way in which I do so has changed. Which has led me to a realization…I do not need these boxes of CDs.
Eight years ago, that thought would never cross my mind. In fact, at one point in life, my CDs were probably my most prized possession. If you wanted to hurt me, you’d break one of them in front of me. Of course, I’d have to then kill you which would ultimately hurt you more than it would hurt me, but we’d both have pain. Tupac wrote a song about it, wanna hear it, here it go.
How many folks were PISSED that in order to get “Pain” you had to buy the Above The Rim cassette tape instead of the CD? Just me? Okay. Also, the Above The Rim Soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks of all time. Period.
At this point, my CDs are literally that box of shit I’ll never open up and don’t need. I’m literally only keeping them for nostalgia purposes. See, a part of me feels like since I tie so much of who I am into music that getting rid of any sort of music would be akin to heresy. Also, I spent a CONSIDERABLE amount of money on those little discs. But the truth is, I got whatever value I needed out of them years ago and they’re just discs. Inconvenient space holders of a corner of a room I could use to put up a fathead or something.
I called up one of my boys to ask him if he’d ever consider getting rid of his CDs. He pretty much said no. His reason leaned largely on the fact that physical CDs still allow you the ability to truly listen to an album and since current urban music seems to have eschewed the album format for a bunch of songs put together and called an album (with obvious notable exceptions like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly or D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, etc). Putting in a CD and listening to it straight through was a throwback to a time when albums were the order of the day.
While I appreciate this angle, I countered that you can do that without having a CD. You can create a playlist on any of your streaming music outlets of choice and do the same. I also contend that there is almost nothing that I have in CD format that I cannot find on either YouTube or Spotify, etc. All of the music I listen to is available elsewhere. In fact, there is only ONE CD I’d be hard pressed to part with and that is Tom Scott’s Honeysuckle Breeze, which contains the source music for Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “T.R.O.Y.”. And I’m only had pressed to part with it because I had that damn CD imported from Japan back when it was unavailable in the USA. Now it’s available everywhere.
I think the biggest impediment has also been…while I may have gotten the value out of 100 percent of those CDs many moons ago, they are still valuable to a degree. While nobody is viewing CDs like they do vinyl (I really don’t see CDs having some sort of retro vintage revival), they’re still worth something. Though to me at this point, the most valuable part of a CD is the insert which, of course, all of the information available there is available…
…on the Internet. Because technology. Though, I have a few CD inserts that are autographed. Lauryn Hill autographed her Miseducation album for me. As did the Goodie Mob with their Still Standing CD. I have other autographed albums littered about my collection.
I’ve always enjoyed having a significant music collection. It was one of those things people always noticed the first time they walked into my home because it was everywhere. Now? Not so much. Sure I have a record player in my living room, and it works, but its more decorative than anything. If I want to listen to something I fire up my mp3 devices. Which has led me towards the path of getting rid of my entire CD collection, a collection of music I built up since the early 90s through the late aughts that came to define my musical tastes and stand as a symbol of how fucking awesome I am.
And I might sell the whole damn thing. I feel some type of way about this. But I’ve also come to terms that the entire way I consume music has changed. Actually, I wouldn’t get rid of the whole thing, I’d keep certain CDs: the Kanye collections, Donny Hathaway, JayZ…anything that I have the entire catalog of…just so I #neverforget.
This is a major consideration for my life. But I think as I realistically think about it…those boxes of CDs would travel with me forever and only get opened 20 years from now when I’m trying to remember whats in those boxes at which point I might look at them with awe and wonderment and wonder why I never got rid of them since nobody’s seen a CD player in a decade. And even if I say no now, its probably more of a reaction to what I could get for it. Every man has a price.
I’m still on the fence. I mean this collection is my history. It’s my collection of who I was at different points in time. Man, I don’t know…its the questions.
So I wonder, have you ever considered parting ways with a collection of sorts? Music? Anything? What stopped your or what motivated you to do it?