CD vs. MP3

If Katie from katiesopinion and I have anything in common, it’s that we are both huge Kelly Clarkson fans. So naturally, we were both very aware that Kelly’s new CD was released today and both needed to get our hands on a copy as soon as possible.

As I was on my way to Target (the closest store to my house that sells CDs), I got a text message from my friend asking me what I was doing. Not wanting to get distracted from my mission, I sent back a quick text telling him what I was doing. His response: “You’re really going to buy a CD? Who does that anymore?”

This got me thinking. Who really does buy CDs anymore? And better yet, why was I going to buy a CD?

Before the days of iTunes, my friends and I always bought CDs. Sometimes, just as I did today, we would go into a store with a specific CD in mind, and other times we would browse through titles and artists until we found one that looked appealing. Then, we would make our parents play the CD on the drive home from the mall or wherever we were as we sat in the backseat looking at the liner notes and talking about if we liked the design of the album cover.

While you can browse through a digital music store and see images of album covers, you never actually walk away with a tangible object. And it was obviously this tangible object that I really wanted this morning, or I could have easily just downloaded the CD like I usually do. But why?

After some more thinking, I realized that the CD itself is more than just a disc with music on it. It is a connection to an artist who I support. Just like people still go to concerts to see an artist perform and to connect with him or her for a few hours, I wanted the officially released CD. It simply has more value to me than some files on my computer.

Not to say that digital music doesn’t have its benefits. More often than not, it is far easier to click a button to buy an album rather than go to a store and hope they have the one that you are looking for. It is also much more convenient to take an iPod away with you for the weekend rather than a CD player and a case of CDs. Or, in the case of Cutting Edge, it is much simpler to take a laptop instead of cases and cases of CDs to a party (see the post ‘The Best DJ Music Library In Philadelphia‘).

In the end, technology definitely has its benefits. But sometimes the old fashioned way really is better.

-Sydney Fenkell

3 Responses

  1. Syd, I couldn’t agree more. There even used to be these things called ‘albums’ which had even bigger pictures, more information about the artist and… Oh well, I’m just showing my age 🙂


  2. Oddly enough, I never felt like the purchase of a CD added up to much of a tangible experience, but I DID feel that way in earlier days when I’d buy vinyl albums. Transitioning out of CD’s and into MP3’s was easier because of this, I suppose.

  3. Felice

    SYD!!! First off, have to say: I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WROTE BLOGS. Secondly, you write REALLY well. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was a professional writing! 😉

    Okay, now to be relevant to the ACTUAL topic- I totally agree with you. Although, I have joined the masses of…um…”buying” mp3’s [haha..what…I’m a poor college student OK?! Don’t give me that look] There are 3, and ONLY three musicians in this current music scene I will willingly get into a car, wait in line, pay my hard earned [well, earned] money for just to hold that plastic disc in my hands. [In case your wondering, they are: Justin Guarini, Taylor Swift AND Kelly Clarkson]

    It’s for the simple reason you said: when you buy that CD, you have something tangible in your hands. You have a piece of something they themselves made. You hold their own personal words IN YOUR HANDS. And that gives you a connection to them, no matter how minute.

    I think that no matter how “convienent” [sp?] mp3’s or iPod’s get, nothing will ever replace that feeling in a TRUE fan’s eyes.

    Now, having said all that– I did not get out and buy Kelly’s CD today. I KNOW. I suck. at life. But I AM GOING TOMORROW. And then I will feel that connection!! 😛

    AWESOME blog, once again.


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