[Moving Zeal] Digital Albums Only?

“I want to support [Cradle of Filth] somehow, but I just don’t buy CDs.”[1]
“I own over 1,000 CDs and after about the 8th CD you find a duplicate of you start to just feel bad.”[2]
Are CDs more antiquated than cassettes now? At least with a cassette tape or record, they are glorified through high-end sound systems that encourage total focus. With CDs, if you just listen to them in the car, why not digital?

Cassettes and records just aren’t my thing.

These revivalist trends might be steeped in their surrounding settings. They both represent an aesthetic specific to their time period, act as shorthand for that era, and represent the sort of fleeting lifespan of near-temporary objects. Could experiencing a worn-out tape/record now be some sort of tribute to some youthful experience dealing with such a fault?

Or could they just be quaint objects.

I am encountering more people that own records but don’t own record players. Maybe we, myself included, own these objects because we consider their physicality important, along with their usefulness? Perhaps we own these objects as trophies of our support? It could be displaying our solidarity for something more than leaving tips at the merchandise table or sending bands money directly.

Why even own physical representations?

With most of my collection packed away, while I am able to stream often legal versions of most any album I’ll ever own, they don’t replace the physical artifacts: the smell of the freshly-printed liner notes in a new CD is always calming for me, looking at reflections through the clean CD, the feel of the paper against my fingertips, and the weight of an object steeped in its own lore.

Streaming music doesn’t feel important to me.

Buying CDs requires time and money, which always made the experience more tangible to buy some new CD, especially one that I’d been after for a while. While it’s nice to instantly switch between albums and genres, check out completely new sounds, and shut off some terrible album without the regret of having purchased it, there isn’t as much satisfaction for me, which is why I still own them.

I will continue, probably, to own most of my CDs.

Ideally, I’d listen to music in the background while I write or do other activities, so reliability is important for me. I don’t want to be writing something or otherwise be deep in thought when –

The CD skips.

The record scratches.

The cassette warps.

The stream stops.

– The only difference, then, is aesthetic.

How we consume music is based on what’s most important to us during that particular moment. There is nothing as great as the flexibility of listening to just the song you want to hear immediately. There is nothing as great as the reliability of listening to just the album you want to hear. There is nothing as great as the physicality of getting lost in the album you enjoy.

Support the musicians however you can, wherever actually helps out.

Quotes: [1,2] The conversation that sparked this essay between a friend [1] and myself [2].
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I didn’t know this would be my penultimate essay in this series, but it, along with my antepenultimate essay “My Perfect Collection” subconsciously address what I’d like to see from my albums going forward.
Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
— CD essays:
01. Albums: Move, Sell?
02. Luxury of Ownership
03. “Close Enough” Lumpings
04. Last Heard: Pre-Cataloging
05. Album Sorting Algorithms
06. Slow to Unearth
07. Declutter Then Alphabetize
08. Your Music Donations
09. Space Between Cataloging
10. Meticulously Studying Ownership
11. Packing To Perfection
12. Controlling Chaos Decisively
13. Physical versus Ephemeral
14. Trade It All?
15. Power Through It
16. My Perfect Collection
17. Digital Albums Only?
Picture: Quick sketch of a CD, record, cassette, and diigtally-streamed version of an album all failing.
Written On: January 29th [290]; February 21st [rest]
Last Edited: Substantially edited on February 21st.
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.