Friday, November 14, 2008

At least they are still shiny

We recently unpacked our stereos (each of us has a moderately nice boombox from our respective B.J. eras), which have been in boxes since May 2007. We haven't missed them. All the music we like is on our iPod, catalogued in iTunes, copied onto our external hard drive, and played whenever we feel like it--either from our lame little computer speakers, or on a pretty decent set of portable iPod speakers, or in our car on road trips. If we want new music, we can get it online. Everything is digitized, and easy to carry around.

Remember your first CD player, the magical machine you bought in the early '90s as a teenager (if you are our age) that even in today's dollars seems ridiculously expensive now? Remember your first CD, how shiny it was, how enjoyable it was simply to play whatever song you wanted, as often as you wanted, without rewinding and fast-forwarding endlessly in order to get at the right spot? I remember having exactly 14 of these thingies when I started college.

Now we have several hundred--we haven't counted--and over the past few weeks have ripped the ones we hadn't plunked in iTunes yet, really more for nostalgia than anything else. (I haven't really listened to contemporary Christian music since Rich Mullins died in 1997, so I've got all these old CDs I haven't thought about in a decade but could probably still hum through start to finish if I tried.) What on earth does one do with these things? I assume if a couple of hoarders like us have gotten to the point that we don't want them, nobody else would either. I haven't set foot in a used CD store in years and am not sure they still exist. We managed to hand off a bunch of classical music to a friend of ours, but that still leaves us with a lot. Would Goodwill even want them? What happens to such a technology when it becomes obsolete? Is there any aesthetic advantage to playing a CD vs. playing a digital file, given similar sound systems (not that we have them, but...)?

Will Auletta think of us the way I think of people my parents' age who still play their Rolling Stones LPs on turntables to relive their college years? But an LP and an 8-track (my parents had 8-tracks!) and a cassette and a CD are all objects. Whether your music's on a record or a CD, it takes up space. Music doesn't take up space anymore, or I should say it doesn't take up volume, so it's not a choice between one physical medium and another--it's between having stuff and not having stuff. And people who move as often as we do could use less stuff.

What would you do--or what have you done--with your CDs? Is there someone out there who will love them?

1 comment:

Christina (your cousin) said...

I'm a total dinosaur. I still prefer a CD to an mp3. Mostly because I don't have a good way to hook up my Zune (yes, faithful Microsoft Wife that I am, I don't even own an IPod - sigh). What's worse is we still listen to cassette tapes too! Well, mostly just the kid's tapes in the car, but still... I think I'm just not made for this century!