A few months ago, I moved out of my parents' house. As with any move, I took most of my personal belongings, but left a few behind to dig through later. Well, that "later" came today and I had to stop on by the house and go through the remaining knick-knacks to figure out what I should keep and what I should forever leave behind. When I put it that way, it sounds dire, doesn't it?
Sorting through the small collection of random gadgetry wasn't that difficult. Old computer mice? Leave. Licensed copies of Windows XP and Vista? Let's take those with me. One random glove? No thanks. However, towards the end of the chore, I came across my collection of compact discs. I completely forgot that I left them behind. I picked up the CD's in small groups and brought them over to the small portable table I was using to mark the items that would live to see another day. On my second trip to the table, a thought crossed my mind: Do I really need these anymore? It may seem like an odd question to ask for a guy who likes his music as much as I do, but let's face the facts: I have an iPod and a computer, all my music is ripped digitally, and I back it up for good measure. What need do I have for the physical media?
I've always been a staunch supporter of buying the physical media as opposed to downloading music digitally. Maybe it's the most basic part of human nature where I feel more comfortable having something tangible in my hand after spending any amount of money on it or perhaps I just held on to ideals that formed during the early days of legal digital music. During the first few years of legal music, namely iTunes, everything was low quality and smothered in DRM that made it impossible to even legally hum a song without the RIAA wanting to collect royalties. Buying the CD just made more sense.
It's different, nowadays. Digital media is of much higher quality and DRM seems to be fading off into the sunset, at least in the music industry. The major deciding factor, though, was probably my first experience purchasing a song digitally. Early last year, my favorite band Staind released the first single from their new album on iTunes and Amazon's MP3 Store. I'd heard good things about Amazon's service, so I plunked down the $0.99 and in a few seconds had the file on my PC. This wasn't a dinky 128kbps file. No, not at all. This was a much more acceptable 256kbps MP3 file complete with embedded high quality album art and entirely void of any DRM. It sounded good, it was almost too easy to buy, and it worked on every device I wanted it to work on. I was a very happy camper.
As I write this and, in the back of my mind, try to figure out where I'm going to put all those CD's, I think it's time for me to move on. Sorry, CD's, you were so nice to me and we had a great run, but I've found a skinnier, easier replacement that gives me just as much enjoyment and, often times, at a lower price. How can I go wrong? I know, I know, you can't accidentally be erased when my entire system decides it's time to kick the bucket, but that's why I have backups. I'm done. We're done.
"Bang On" is a regularly occurring column written by Christopher Vendemio. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Neowin.net