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Remember when kids bought CDs?

I do not remember the last time I actually purchased an album on a CD.

OK, I do. There was a recent anomaly. Let me tell you, I seriously admire an artist willing to think "outside the box" to sell a traditional product in a progressive market. If you know what my recent purchase was, DON'T SPOIL. I'm looking at you, Esperanza. Hands off the comment box. It's a surprise. I don't know when it will arrive. It's having a hell of a time getting through U.S. customs. Haha!

Anyway, IN GENERAL, I listen to music on my computer. I haven't owned a machine designed for the purpose of CD playing since college. And even then, it was sort of cute and old-school. Nowadays, all the music I listen to is in mp3 format on my hard drive or iPod.

This past week, I dug a bunch of my old CDs and Mr. G's out of storage and arranged them on our huge CD shelves that we inherited from musical ex-roomie Froseph. Back in the '90s, it seemed like we had a MILLION BAJILLION CDs. But wow, they look so scanty here! I often listen to playlists on my computer consisting of many thousands of songs. Music storage and enjoyment has become so very convenient these past few years.

I remember having a record player as a small child. That was what people still used. All our family Christmas albums were ALBUMS, and they were played on a giant piece of furniture in the living room. Then, by the time I was a teen, cassette tapes had all but eliminated new record sales. And it was so amazing to be able to tape stuff, including songs off the radio--even though the DJ always cut off the beginning and end of the song. By the time I had my first babysitting jobs and my own income, all the music I purchased was on CDs. They were so new and cool! And now, in my late 20s, they are still sold widely but falling out of favor at a time when everybody and their mom and grandma has an mp3 player.

Publishing blogs are always talking about whether ebooks will destroy the whole book industry. But all the analog-to-digital-to-easily-shared format changes in music did not (despite decades of end-times wailing) kill the pop music industry. I've always taken the perspective that technological advances cannot be suppressed for any length of time, and any wise person knows that adaptation is vital and wishing for the "good old days" is utterly useless... and boring.

I do not fear the end of the publishing industry, and so I plow ahead on my work in progress, while listening to my wealth of mp3s.

I've had a lot of fun this week, though, ripping my old '90s CDs and adding them to my playlist. Wow, what a dark and angsty decade that was. But such raw artistry in songwriting and instrumentation. I'm falling in love all over again with tiny, gritty details like the itty bitty squeak of a real finger scooting across a real fret board.

I think it's glorious to unite the best parts of the old with the best features of the new.

I'm curious. Anyone reading this post, what's the last actual CD you purchased, and why? And how do you feel about ebooks vs. paper tomes?


  1. I want a compromise ebook. I want an ebook comprised of actual, thin, page like material that can load an actual page. I want 120 of these in my ebook.

    If I download a book, the entire book appears as its own individual page in the ebook. I could then "change the channel" and "magically" a new book would take over the pages. However, I could switch back to the old book whenever I wanted.

    As for music on the computer, did you pay for all the stuff you have on the computer? Doesn't that get expensive?

  2. Hmm...the last cd I purchased...I believe it was Mariah Carey's last cd. Not her newest one, but the one before it. Why? I was obsessed with her music when I was younger, and I buy her cds now to maintain the collection.

    As for ebooks...I think they're convenient. I kinda sorta want a Sony Reader. But I think I would miss actual books. The feel of the pages, the smell of the ink. I worry about the publishing industry, not because of ebooks, but because people don't seem to read much anymore. Sadly.

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  4. um, the "if" in the prior comment was a mistake.

  5. Alessandro, cost is an interesting thing to bring up. I like to have whole albums by an artist, not usually just the single. But if it costs $10 to download the album and $12 to buy the CD, I'll usually opt to just buy the CD. Free file sharing becomes very tempting. But if the download of a whole album only cost 99 cents or something, I'd probably download a whole lot of albums legally.

    Same goes for books. It would be easy for me to justify downloading a ton of books at super-low prices if I had an e-reader and ebooks sold for less than a buck each. I wouldn't really care if I got around to reading them all, if it took me hardly any time or money to acquire them. Someday, I'd like to publish a book and sell the paper version at standard prices and the e-version at a very cheap rate. I would guess that so many people would download, I'd make more money than if I tried to sell an ebook at paper prices.

    Meika, I do the same thing when I start a collection. If I have all the other CDs by an artist, I want to keep it going and collect them all! That's why I bought all the books in the Harry Potter series and why I'm still in line at Best Buy to purchase the latest Green Day CD... even if the new album sucks. It's sentimental, I guess.

  6. The last album I bought was over a year ago: Staples Singers greatest hits. I bought it as a gift, but then I realized that I'd appreciate it more than the intended recipient and went to plan B for the gift.

    I've never used an e-reader. But I do love downloading *audio* books from CADL and NYPL. I pretty much head to the library first for books and music these days.

    I miss those days of recording my favorite songs from the radio onto cassette tapes just because it was a fun and easy (free) way for a pre-teen to get and keep her favorite songs to listen to whenever the angsty drama got the best of her.

  7. I still buy CDs. I have a crappy beater of a car that won't play burned, if I want to listen to a CD in my car, I have to buy the actual CD. The last CD I bought was Def Leppard's "Vault" (greatest hits). The last respectable CD I bought was Pearl Jam's new album.

    I don't like ebooks. I have tried to read books on my phone, and there is just something about turning pages and marking up a piece of paper that you can't do on a kindle. Plus, I find it hard to read on a screen. I don't think I'll ever switch over.

  8. Righteous. I think my shelf needs a Pearl Jam CD or two!

    I'm not interested in ebooks for myself at all. But if I had to commute, I'd rent a lot of audio books from the library. Reading on the bus makes me sick, and besides, I've found that headphones are a much more effective barrier to unwanted conversations than an open book.

  9. I last bought...Amy Winehouse Back to Black. My parents bought me Cafe Tacuba's last album for Christmas.

    My friends husband taught me about how to properly download music off the internet. Well done, him!

    Also. What are you talking about?!?!?! I don't know why a collectors edition of X album with a set of ACTION (jojojo!) figures, bracelets, and...other extras would take forever to arrive.

    I bet if you had purchased it from Schuler's, it'd be here by now! ;)

  10. My purchase has been in customs in San Diego for at least three weeks. Hahaha...

  11. What did I tell you? If you had gotten it at Schuler's, you'd be having party time at your house by now.

  12. Oh darn, I should have thought of that.

    It makes me feel better that we talked to Mr. Waxx, and he said when he worked in the fall protection business, the equipment they ordered from Europe always got held up in customs for ridiculous lengths of time.

    The record company said don't worry, we'll get it... Maybe in time for a spring Oestre festival? Yeah? What do you think? The album has a sweet song about springtime in Paris... Regret nothing!


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