While I was at my parent’s place for Christmas, I had to confront the dilemma of what to do with my CD collection. It’s not even that big — 100 CDs tops, but I found myself paralyzed by the enormity of the decision over what to do with it. Keep them, or donate/sell them?
Consider the following:
The nostalgia factor is nearly overwhelming. It’s the music that defined my tastes, taught me how to play guitar, accompanied my first makeout session with a girl, consoled me in times of loss, etc.
Every last song in the collection is ripped to my iTunes.
I have zero desire to use the actual physical CD to listen to music. I’m 100% confident that, when the CD collection arrives via FedEx in a couple of days, it will sit in the box, untouched and unopened.
I have some desire to display the CDs as part of a collection, but I have limited space to do so, given the constraints of Manhattan apartment living.
I am aware of all of the ideas about how value for the same physical thing can diminish over time and be vastly different for different people in different contexts.
I hate the idea of giving away these things that were once my treasured objects.
Can I get a tax write-off for these donations? Are there NYC stores that still buy used CDs? Will I regret the loss of my CD collection after the aliens attack with EMP pulses and wipe out earth’s magnetic storage? Do I have other options that I’m not considering?
Yeah it’s a redundant collection on an outmoded technology and the primary value is nostolgia… but that is nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace it.
We live in an entirely disposable culture, where there is so litte worth hanging on to. We’re not going to wind up with a houseful of antiques to comfort us when the years have passed. We’re going to face old age with a box holding our Legos and a binder of CD’s everything else will have been replaced 10 times between now and retirement.
We’re around the same age, and even now there’s very few things from my childhood\teen years that I’ve hung on to. But I’ve know exactly where to find the first MP3 I ever dl’d off a pirate FTP server (The Hollies – Long Cool Woman) even if the storage media has changed many times, and I know exactly where the first music I ever bought (my The Joshua Tree CD) is .
There’s traditional associations tied with “first acquisition” that adds to the value of it.
On a second line of arguement there is a very social aspect to a physical music collection that is lost in a digital one. I like looking at people’s CD and book shelves because it tells me a lot about them, they were exposed to just as many vague influences as any of us… but this is what they treasured. Even if I never have grand children, someone will look at something in my binder of CD’s years from now and know just a little bit more about me… if they’re lucky maybe there will be a working player somewhere close by and they’ll spin up Alice in Chains Jar of Flies.
Continuing the social line of thought I know that if I’m having a conversation with a friend and the fact that they’ve never heard a particular treasure by Dylan, or The Clash, or Mike Ness then I’m firing up the CD not the MP3. For the same reason that the audiophile nuts reach for their vinyl, not because of a qualitative difference, but because the ritual enhances the experience.
Finally, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I would never trust a corporation with my entire collection. If you’re already got your collection offlined as high quality ogg’s somewhere (hopefully on 2 forms of storage) then yeah it’s worth counting on itunes.
Apple is the pick up artist of technology, they make you feel classy and act like they care, but they’ll screw you and be done with you as soon as it’s in their interest. Anyone who’s counting on a service provider to maintain their keepsakes long term better start memorizing now.
So yeah, find a shelf where you want to leave your prized few out to be discovered, and get some decent binders for the rest.