Feb 27, 2014

The Fear of Missing Out...Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Idea that I Can Actually Get Rid of My CDs

created at: 02/27/2014

Like everyone, I guess I have a problem with stuff. With things - with keeping them too long, with placing emotional value on the physical object rather than the memory it recalls. Of course, I think I do this way less than everyone else, cause I don't have a problem with passive consumerism (errr....), and I don't spend tons of money on clothes, or shoes, or eating out, or on the latest gadgets, or all those things that personal finance books tell you to not spend money on.

But, buddy, do I have a media library. Not DVDs so much, but books. Lots of books. Like, a decade's worth of fiction that I'ma get to, countless guides to hobbies and passions, and two bachelors and three masters degrees combined household worth of books.

Oh, and vinyl albums. And CDs. Particularly old CDs, the albums I didn't buy as downloads. The ones I got in high school and college. The records that changed my life. 

Sure, I've pared them down - lots already - to just the essentials. The 150 or so essential records...that I never actually play via CD and still have the jewel cases for cause I like the way they look on my shelves and that I still own them makes me feel. The CDs that 75% or so I'm sure are already in my iTunes library, but I don't actually know because that also has 25,000 songs and I can't seem to stay on top of labelings all that stuff, either.

See, I don't really have a problem with buying stuff... but, c'mon, I'm a librarian. What if I need it? These things should be preserved. They blew my mind...That's worth saving, right?

But, I don't listen to them. Ever. I haven't listened to a physical CD in at least three years, save for those I've borrowed from the library. I haven't bought a CD in eight years. My last purchase was in May 2006. I don't have a physical CD player any longer. Just a computer. 

I've been reading and thinking a lot about stuff and money and letting go of things, and I'm finally ready to cut my media down to 25%. I'm gonna keep 25% of my books, and 25% of my vinyl records, and everything else has to go. Including all my CDs. (Did I mention they changed my life?)

I'm sure you've likely already done this, but this month...I'm letting go. I'll import them into my computer. iTunes Match will automatically back up my entire digital library - all 25,000 songs - for $25 a year. (I'll have to pare to 25k songs, too, but I need to do that anyway). Twenty years of library-ing and collecting will live in the cloud forever, and I no longer have to worry about manual backups or keeping hard copies in case hard drives fail.

And while I'm at it, I'm gonna embrace HuluPlus and Netflix and let go of my cable subscription and oh-so-library-inducing DVR. Which I never actually use. And I'm gonna let my subscription to The New Yorker lapse, for now...because I'm so behind I just read a story about the threat of congress shutting down, and the cartoons are starting to have ghosts and jack-o-lanterns in them. (!)

I know everyone says this, but they're just something you think you need because you have it. It's the mindset of a curator, sure, but it's mostly just a fear of missing out. But, I'm thinking I'd rather miss out on a few New Yorker stories or an episode of The Daily Show than the thing I'll actually be doing when I'm not trying to catch up on all that reading and watching and listening.

Here goes. 


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Kayla on Mar 06, 2014:

Oh and let me also add (for you audiophiles) that Murfie rips everything in FLAC and keeps the physical discs as a backup! You can download them in FLAC, ALAC, mp3, and aac, and stream in mp3 and FLAC. You can have your discs returned at any time and they're all covered by insurance. :-)

Anonymous on Mar 04, 2014:

Yeah, I definitely collect media. I have 160,000+ songs digitally, 600+ records, 2000+ Movies either digitally or on dvd/bluray, a few hundred cds, thousands of comics digitally/in print, and a couple hundred books. Recently I got rid of a lot of my cds, because I had the songs digitally, and lots of books, because I had digital copies. Now my bookshelves are mainly full of art/photo books/graphic novels and vinyl. I like to hold onto the source media unless I can get either the same or better quality digitally. But despite the number of things it only takes up a couple bookshelves and a few harddrives. Other than that I have lots of art supplies and little else.

Anonymous on Mar 04, 2014:

That's fair Chris, you really didn't advocate ditching everything. I guess I'm in my "get off my lawn" stage, just cannot understand the perceived need by so many to ditch everything physical for all things virtual. The anti-corporate, anti-consumerism side of me thinks the technology and media companies are the not-so-subtle promoters of this, and the benefits consurmers receive are not as great as we percieve.  Of course there are benefits that are indisputable,  especially for me when it comes to sorting and accessing the thousands of musical compositions in my physical library.  Truth is, a copy of 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, and a Spotify plus Pandora account, have my CD collection just gathering dust.   

Chris on Mar 04, 2014:

@Anonymous - There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. If you read the post above, I was 1) not advocating to put everything in the cloud. Rather, this was about importing my own library into a less clutter-filled system that reflects how I actually listen to music. I mentioned I don't even have a CD player anymore. I'd have to put a CD in the very computer that could hold the files itself. iTunes Match is simply a secondary backup for my collection. 2) Not suggesting that physical copies of things like books and records are outdated. I am a hopeless paper book and magazine fan, and I doubt that will ever change. Rather, I was simply exploring a misconception that I held about the need to have something...just in case, and the reality of holding on to physical, cluttering things that I don't ever use because of their sentimental value to me. 


Anonymous on Mar 03, 2014:

What's wrong with a little pre-Net media to keep you going in case the inevitable happens and your access to the cloud, whether due to local, regional, or global disruption goes down? Doesn't anyone care that Skynet could go dark? We created and thrived off of the printed page for nearly a 1000 years and have only had recorded music and images for 100 or so, why must everything be ditched for the latest medium?

Anonymous on Feb 28, 2014:

Umm, I think I see a Pietasters CD!

bruno on Feb 27, 2014:

Bravo! Send me all the good books!

Anna on Feb 27, 2014:

See... you're brave. I dont think I can do it. Im still trying to argue with myself about it. You are brave.