Monday, November 19, 2012

Thank You for Your CD

Recorded music is cheap, ubiquitous and relatively easily made and distributed these days. The definitive document still seems to be the CD (the Compact Disc as developed by Philips and Sony in the early 80's) - although sales of the commercial product have been in steady decline this century, despite an overall growth in the recording industry's output. The balance, presumably, is distributed digitally as mp3 files. For those of us who still like 'to have and to hold' our albums, the CD is the default. And although some still covet the vinyl LP with its tactile physicality and its lovely readable cover, this remains largely the domain of the audiophile and the serious collector. My own small collection of LPs sit mostly idle, occasionally rifled by my grown-up daughter who has a penchant for things retro.

Sales notwithstanding, CDs are used most often as promotional calling cards. They are distributed freely around promoters, festivals, libraries, reviewers and radio stations in the hope of bookings and broadcast. Having had an organisational association with a folk club and festival for many years, I have acquired several hundreds myself. Now I gaze upon a wall of two thousand or more CDs and wonder if I will ever listen to most of them again.

Because I listen to virtually (- see what I did there?) all of my music in mp3 format on my home computer connected to the home stereo, I have developed the habit of migrating (ripping) chosen albums from my wall to my computer when the listening occasion arises. Any newly purchased disc's first destination is to the CD drive of the computer and then to the wall. My media player reports that I have eight months and twenty days of continuous listening without repeats - and I have only transferred a small percentage of the wall. Of course this data pool is regularly supplemented by iTunes purchases as well (- sometimes I just want the music).

These days promotional packages of CDs and printed material (about as useful as glossy press photos) are deprecated in favour of a convenient link to a website or a YouTube clip or two.

But in the event, thank you for your CD; it will be listened to, booklet thumbed and credits acknowledged, then placed lovingly in alphabetical order with the others. Maybe in the not too distant future, an inquisitive grandchild might peruse the wall of CDs the way I did with my granddad's books or my daughter with my LP's, and find there treasures I've overlooked or failed to recognise. I really hope so.
Mike Moroney
Happy birthday Joop Walhain.

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