Shiny discs

CDs recently turned 30 years old.

I first got a CD player in 1988, when they fell below $200 for the first time. It was a CDC brand player (made by Teac), for which I trekked out to KMart at Box Hill. It worked for fifteen years, until 2003 — though its replacement didn’t last that long.

The first CD I bought back in ’88? Abbey Road.

I don’t recall the subsequent early purchases, but I know the rest of The Beatles’ albums and a lot of The Who was in there. In musical terms, I had very narrow interests back then.

I actually still buy CDs, which (mostly) don’t have any DRM hassles, and for older stuff are cheaper than iTunes. I’m also not super-confident my iTunes collection will be intact in another 20 years.

Do you still buy CDs? And why?

This topic came up on social media and in real life recently: do you still buy CDs, and why?

I do. I buy some stuff on iTunes and Bigpond Music (which sells MP3s), and buy some stuff (particularly older material) on CD.

Why? Because I prefer the softer, warmer, fuller sound of CDs to the harsh sound of MP3s.


Actually three main reasons:

  • A lot of older material out there is substantially cheaper on CD. You can often find classic albums for $10 or less; the same would cost you around $16 or more on iTunes
  • I don’t mind having the physical media, including the booklet… although admittedly this is causing me some storage issues in my livingroom
  • I have CDs going back to when I first bought a CD player in 1988. And they still work fine. Will all of my iTunes downloads still be intact in another 24 years? Dunno. I’m not sure I trust it that much.

Perhaps the rarest CD I have is the out-of-print Doug Anthony Allstars album Icon, originally released in 1990. I notice it’s now available on iTunes. If it didn’t hold sentimental value (and if Paypal hadn’t decided to refuse service to me — that’s another story), that’d be one to sell on eBay, I reckon.

What have the rest of you done? Banished all CDs and gone purely digital? Or do you still buy them? Or have you gone really retro and are growing your stock of LPs, 8-track tapes and wax cylinders?

Records, cassettes, CDs, iTunes

Back in 1995, I wrote as part of my History Of The World:

Beatlemania sweeps the world. Shortly afterwards, electronics companies devise a fifty year plan to get people to buy all their favourite music many times over, by introducing new recorded music technology every decade. This works until the 1990s, when, due to a tactical miscalculation, everyone is perfectly happy with their CDs.

I guess the joke’s on me.

Love the advert, by the way… but I’m resisting. My CDs, some going back to the late-80s, all still work (though I admit getting suckered into upgrading to the remastered Abbey Road a couple of years back).