Jul 26, 2010, 11:16AM

Compact Disc or coaster?

Sell your CDs now while you still can, and never look back.

As of yesterday, I am now CD-free and happy as could be. Two years ago, selling every last CD I owned would’ve seemed incomprehensible. Despite my then girlfriend Sam’s constant urgings to the contrary, I boxed all six hundred or so up and took them to California, the constantly culled & refined, jewel-cased expression of my record store clerk nerdosity. Sam hated them, and wouldn’t let me put them on shelves in our new apartment. “Too much plastic,” she said. Into a dresser they went – out of sight, out of mind.

I ain’t the first to say it, but now, now, now is the time to sell all your compact discs if you have any inclination to make real American dollars for them. I’m not sure what turned the tide of my personal opinion, but once I started unloading them on Amazon, I couldn’t stop. Maybe it was the money, maybe I just really like going to the post office (not), or maybe it was Sam after all.

She was certainly right though, CD’s are rapidly becoming obsolete, and while I doubt they’ll ever be truly worthless, the market for them is headed nowhere but down. In fact, this year was the first in over 20 that the record store I worked at has sold more vinyl than CD’s – and I don’t think that trend will ever reverse. That says something about record stores and vinyl’s resurgence, as well as the state of the music business, but the fact remains: kids these days just aren’t willing to plunk down fifteen bucks for something they can download off the internet for free.

CD’s just aren’t cool. Vinyl, on the other hand, has an eternal and tangible appeal. Older people are constantly surprised when I tell them that, yes, they still do make records (they never stopped! You just stopped caring!) and now they come with a free download of the corresponding mp3’s. Records for home, mp3’s on the go – that leaves CD’s languishing in a distant third, as what, exactly – for the car?

People are still buying CD’s – which is why it’s the time to sell. I got tired of carting around the last box of my Amazon inventory as I criss-cross the country, so yesterday I turned those relics into $142 plus the new Cave 12”, Pure Moods as well as Mississippi Records latest, Orchestre Regional de Mopti’s Les Meillures Souveneirs De La 1ere Bienalle Artistique and I felt like I was committing a robbery. I urge y’all to follow my lead, I promise you won’t regret it.

  • With NASA predicting a huge influx of magnetic storms hitting Earth in a few years, I'm not placing too much faith in maintaining my music collection digitally. Maybe after the unpredictability of nature passes over, but until then, I'd advise hanging onto your physical media. It might be all a big lot of fear over nothing, but I'd rather keep my Neutral Milk Hotel through the apocalypse.

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  • Oh everything else I've ever written has been about how awesome records are. Keep buying music, just fuhgeddaboud cdeez.

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  • As someone who just purchased Harlan Ellison's 'Jeffty is Five', the gargantuan Tom Waits boxed set, MMW's Radiolarians trilogy and Mountain Man's new album all on vinyl, I'm with you! I still think that the unfortunate CD is the best way to reclaim your iPod after the great Magnostorm of 20-aught-whatever.

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