The main problem with owning an unchecked collection of over 1,104 CDs is that though impressive, storage becomes a concern. What should I keep and what should I get rid of depends on one primary question: would I want to listen to this album more than once every ten years? I would run through the embarrassing statistics of what I haven’t heard in over ten years, but that’s online already, so let’s instead explore moving mechanics.
I’ve made a few attempts at having a well-curated album collection.
It may even seem kind of silly to write an essay about this – or perhaps, it’s more self-congratulatory or braggadocios, but that’s not really the intent. Mainly, I’m writing this essay on the laptop I spent over two hours cataloging albums as a way to unpack some ideas: why do I keep these albums? Why get rid of others?
Right now I’m just doing a polite keep/ditch.
It’s not that the albums I’m selling or donating are ones I’ll never want to hear again. I just don’t think I’ll listen to them again in the next five years. There’s also facing the fact that I’d honestly rather listen to another couple hundred CDs in the car or as I’m writing or would see no point in keeping the packaging.
Truth is: I’m not even listening to a CD right now.
I own the first Rage Against The Machine album but I’m listening to it on Youtube out of convenience. The CD is buried around somewhere, in the less-organized part of my collection, and I don’t have a boombox or better sound system readily available, and this laptop doesn’t even have a CD player.
Why even keep all these CDs?
If I was even five years younger, would I have become as enamored by the physicality of CDs? Everything from the once-generic jewel case enabling near-infinite artistic possibilities to an effective way to “own” and “play” music. I won’t have to worry about trolling or incomplete albums on a CD.
Their utility and gradual degradation are part of my aesthetic, too.
As much as I like to strive to be better than I was yesterday, I also like putting things through their paces. That said, I couldn’t tolerate listening to a cassette four times before noticing wear and record hiss isn’t really my thing. It also feels gratifying collecting a week’s worth of driving music in one go.
But how about loading up an MP3 player?
Sure, I could have an endless selection of entire discographies of bands I’ve never even heard of at the press of a button, but I’m still attached to album packaging being a component of the music. Just like how the environment you heard a song factors into your memory and lore around it.
This has been my subconscious justification for keeping these things.
Collecting albums on CD is an impractical, financially-irresponsible hobby. Like family photo albums, they keep memories…
It’s just a matter of deciding what memories to keep.
|Sources: My collecting experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to explore why, even though I’ve been beyond my living environment’s maximum capacity for years and have been planning to move for months, I still collect these things.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
— CD essays:
1. Albums: Move, Sell?
2. Luxury of Ownership
3. Album Sorting Algorithms
4. Own and Unheard
Above: The specific collection I cleared out today.
Below: A taller view with more of the CDs. Not shown: the disorganized mess it became, in part because the “after” shot isn’t significantly different at this point. The sequel will have this essay’s “after” and more “after” shots.
|Written On: October 14th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: No additional edits.|