Owning physical copies

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F&B
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Owning physical copies

Post by F&B »

What are your pro arguments? Or contra?

Is there are difference between your valuing (not echonomical...) of CD, tape, vinyl?

Is the "full package" (intended as) an important part of the whole experience?

Why buy expensive vinyl, is it just habit? Showing off collection? The ritual of it all?

Why buy tapes????

What about CDs?

And what about streaming taking over?

mudd
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by mudd »

i'm not really fond of starting threads like this with a bunch of questions, but ok.

owning physical copies of music is the concrete form of showing my support and appreciation of an artist's work that i am comfortable with. it has relatively little to do with the specific experience of listening, which i can just as easily do digitally. basically i don't value the experience of purchasing digital downloads so it doesn't serve for me to feel that i am really doing my part support the musicians.

i'd prefer not to by expensive vinyl, cheap vinyl is generally perfectly adequate. i prefer vinyl to cd only for the aesthetics of the object - bigger cover art, less plastic periphery, less inclined to crack or litter my floor with broken tabs. digipacks or hand-made packaging close that gap considerably, though it's hard to package a cd in an interesting way without making it a pain to store.

tapes are maybe more ritualistic - they are cheap without being disposable like a cdr, but also the sound of the tape deck and the sudden and disruptive 'click' of the side ending can play add to the music.

streaming is of no interest to me. i'll listen to a soundcloud or bandcamp page, but just the enterprise of a streaming company licensing gobs of music and paying the artist some pittance feels very regressive to me.

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J.F.
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by J.F. »

I have a hard time to give away a record I own, even if digitized beforehand. But when it comes to new releases I have no problem at all to accept a digital download - often without the desire to own the physical copy.
One result of this is I hoard old LPs and CDs including many I never listen to and probably never will in the future. I watch that, lacking understanding.

One issue for me is to have more free space in our appartment. For a year or two I've successfully balanced that wish with my hoarding behaviour, and I actually started selling LPs. And even though the initial decision to say "this one has to go" is not easy to make, like I said above, I don't miss anything I got rid of that way.

I listen to music mostly when commuting/travelling/walking around outside... flac or mp3 on a portable player. I actually started to digitize my loved LPs and CDs that I definitely want to keep, because I hardly put an LP on the player to listen to it that way. First thing I actually do with a new vinyl acquisition: digitize it, so I can handle it as data (and put together playing lists/compilations... yes, as soon as I'm familiar with its contents, I don't hesitate to disregard a record's artistic entirety). The physical copy gets stored away in a place where nobody gets to see it: in a cupboard in our rather big sleeping room (we switched rooms for home office/sleeping two times, and the 2nd time I just was sick of again re-installing everything).

That touches the "showing off"-thing: So far I never took somebody into our sleeping room for flipping through my LP collection.
My CDs are in my home office. I removed all jewel cases and put the CDs+covers in thin CD-jackets, those go into cardboard boxes, those are put into a shelf, the shelf is surrounded by a curtain, to keep the dust away. So if you step into our appartment, the only records you see are luvvy's Melissa Etheridge and Simon & Garfunkel CDs.

Most physical copies I keep are linked to memories... that's the strongest with certain free jazz & rock releases.
It's different with contemporary classical stuff: many classical CDs are compilations made by record company-people and/or the featured ensemble/conductor. Considering many CD-covers + liner notes in the classical department leave me unimpressed, I see many of those CDs not so much as personal artistic statements but as data carriers with some printed info. I never had the nerve to do so yet, but it will be satisfying to see how many classical CDs & LPs actually have hardly any personal value for me - as physical items. So... well, it will take some time, but I'll be able to considerably reduce my classical collection, and I will love it.
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mono tony
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by mono tony »

tapes are inexpensive, and they can sound pretty good. it's sorta humbling, to be unable to cue up particular tracks in an instant.

CD is a decent medium, it's cheaper than vinyl and it sounds better than mp3 (through a stereo receiver), plus you still get the special packaging and whatnot.

streaming seems popular, but i don't do my primary listening while sitting in front of a computer, nor do i have a smart device, so it doesn't apply to me. for more types of specialised music, streaming is often not an option.

as i get older, i care less about the physical package, but if it's quality music i'll make sure to get a hard copy.

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RFKorp
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by RFKorp »

I buy physical copies of releases I like because they are harder to lose than digital files.

Like mono tony, most of the listening I do is NOT on my computer and I've never owned an ipod to listen to mp3s while walking around. But furthermore, I have no particular organizational system to the music I download except "it's probably in a folder somewhere on one of my several computers or external hard drives" so I generally only know how to find such files for one or two listens before I forget their location.

A CD/tape/record will always be on the shelf. And I value that in music I think I'll want to return to.

So that said, things that are perpetually available to stream work nicely for me when I want to put something in my ears while at work and know where to cue it up. But the sound quality is not always up to snuff on a web stream and internet connections aren't always stable enough. So if I really like something and want to spend serious time with it, I will buy a physical copy to enjoy at home where I can hear it as intended (and don't have to use headphones either).
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by faster »

I just love showing off my collection. My cat is so impressed. I'm like a god to it.
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crawjo
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by crawjo »

I find that I need the physical copy in order to feel a strong connection with the music. I also greatly value good artwork and liner notes, when they accompany a CD or LP.

Tanner
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by Tanner »

My cat likes my record collection as well.

More seriously, I have no logical reason for buying vinyl. But I do. And I like it. I don't listen to mp3s. Cds are fine, but I vastly prefer the tactile nature of vinyl, as well as the presentation. Nothing to me is more satisfying than a nice gatefold release to look at when spinning a record. I find the whole argument of what sounds better to be fairly inconsequential. It's all in the presentation for me.

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Moon
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by Moon »

I've not had many permanent collections of physical object music and am just old enough to not have had life long access to digital wealth. To me, physical owning is an extension that helps my mind build on the music, like every time you come up with a new thought on that music it latches on to the mind's representation of the physical object. So music on its own, on soundcloud for example, drifts around a bit before settling, making it harder to converge all the thoughts you have on it over time. It leads to some weird associations, like hearing Grave Diggaz, casually thinking about rza's production skills while picturing the filename of the mp3 how it was in WinAmp (because kaazaa filenames were pretty odd) and where it lies now in my old back up drive with other high school things.
Luckily, most music I like and listen to the most give such a strong impression that the music on its own becomes the grain that all other thoughts about it forms around. Rothko Chapel, which I've never owned physically (and not visually inclined enough to use the paintings as reference to look at while listening), exist as watercolured blue felt balls and lots of other details that sound equally embarrassing to describe, and that's my physical copy so I don't think I'll ever need a real copy.
I can see how it could be a problem getting into music seriously if all the thoughts you have about a specific work just aimlessly drifts between directories in your mind, but then again I think I read somewhere that the digital age is evolving how the younger generation's brains work anyway.

I don't like cds, or dvds, might as well use usb or sd drives. Is there any kind of use for cds at all? They're cheap to make indie-like, I guess.
That leaves vinyl and cassettes, I don't have any of either right now, it's in another country. I listen to music through my studio setup and in flac, that's it.
I don't have a cat.

cdeupree
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by cdeupree »

We moved into a smaller place last year, so I've challenged myself to downsize my CD collection by about a third. Part of the process involves listening to CDs that I haven't heard in years, deciding whether to place them in the discard pile or not. Among the easy discards are ones with low-value covers, lacking in written information and easily reproducible in the iTunes cover art, as well as collections of songs that work well in an mp3 format (e.g., car listening).
mono tony wrote:First thing I actually do with a new vinyl acquisition: digitize it
I treat my artistic packaged-CDs the some way mono tony treats the LPs: digitize the music and tuck the delicate cover away safely. I'm also more inclined to keep the CD if it has decent notes (above what I can find on discogs), and most especially if the CD is a single work, a single listening experience.
J.F. wrote:It's different with contemporary classical stuff: many classical CDs are compilations made by record company-people and/or the featured ensemble/conductor. Considering many CD-covers + liner notes in the classical department leave me unimpressed, I see many of those CDs not so much as personal artistic statements but as data carriers with some printed info. I never had the nerve to do so yet, but it will be satisfying to see how many classical CDs & LPs actually have hardly any personal value for me - as physical items.
+1. It's ironic that the CD was designed expressly for classical music, and yet is so poor a listening experience in that arena most of the time. I can't listen to 70 minutes of Beethoven sonatas or Brahms trios in numeric order. I digitize classical CDs and break each individual work into its own album, so I can listen to *one* work at a time. A creatively programmed contemporary classical CD is a joy, but the anthologies -- data carriers indeed.

I'm unlikely to digitize everything I've acquired on CD that I want to keep. Despite the promise of streaming technologies around the house, it doesn't always work as well as it should, and blu-ray players play CDs pretty reliably. I actually played Kind of Blue on CD this past weekend because our digital streaming technology crapped out.

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mono tony
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by mono tony »

cdeupree wrote:
mono tony wrote:First thing I actually do with a new vinyl acquisition: digitize it
I treat my artistic packaged-CDs the some way mono tony treats the LPs: digitize the music and tuck the delicate cover away safely. I'm also more inclined to keep the CD if it has decent notes (above what I can find on discogs), and most especially if the CD is a single work, a single listening experience.
nah, i didn't say that.. i believe you meant to quote J.F.

i usually prefer a jewel case, as they're most functional. i don't always want to handle a delicate sleeve, and i don't file the discs separately from their cases unless they're prone to scratching from the packaging. multi-disc gatefold cd packaging feels really cumbersome and prone to tearing, but 2XCD jewel cases are similarly unwieldy. i say pare down the audio material to fit on one cd, for studio albums.

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james
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by james »

a vinyl record forces me to listen in a less ADD way, which I find myself doing with an iTunes library. My turntable also sounds fantastic (though my digital does too).

I buy CD's instead of downloading so that I can have physical backups. Rip CD to Apple Lossless and put away.

I did buy a high-res 24/192 copy of Blue Train from HDtracks just as a test of the new high-res medium. It sounds excellent, but I'd prefer to have a physical copy for backup, even though I back up to Amazon Glacier. I'm sure I'll eventually grow out of this fear.

F&B
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by F&B »

I can't figure out what to choose. One day I prefer vinyl, the next CD.. The next I want to go all digital because I'm running out of space in our apartment and have to sell something.

Also, it is weird I have lots artists' discographies half in vinyl and half on CD. So inconsistent...

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J.F.
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by J.F. »

F&B wrote:Also, it is weird I have lots artists' discographies half in vinyl and half on CD. So inconsistent...
I'm in the (several years long) process of backing up basically my complete collection on hard-drives. That's a medium/system that helps me keeping my stuff in strict order, so everything is in place there and I have it available very handily. It doesn't matter anymore to me then if it is originally from CD, LP or a flac-download.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by Dan Warburton »

F&B wrote:What are your pro arguments?
Support poor artists.
F&B wrote:Or contra?
The older I get, the smaller the living space I find I need (eventually we'll end up with a coffin, or an empty Folgers can :) )
F&B wrote:Is there are difference between your valuing (not echonomical...) of CD, tape, vinyl?
Not quite so sure I understand the question, but vinyl is sexier. Don't listen to cassettes anymore, except on a first generation Walkman if I'm feeling very nostalgic. Doesn't happen often.
F&B wrote:Is the "full package" (intended as) an important part of the whole experience?
I don't sit down and gloat over my gatefolds as much as I used to.
F&B wrote:Why buy expensive vinyl, is it just habit? Showing off collection? The ritual of it all?
See answer to question 1 above. Showing off? Nah, not many people come round here, and most of them have the same records anyway.
F&B wrote:Why buy tapes????
I don't (see above); in fact I never have - used to make my own, but apart from two or three Eugene Chadbourne tapes sold in his dirty socks, I don't think I've ever bought a cassette in my life.
F&B wrote:What about CDs?
Apart from a couple of Ersts from Jon through PayPal, I haven't bought a CD for about a year. Scary.
F&B wrote:And what about streaming taking over?
Well, downloading, yes. Have to admit a lot of my on-the-road listening these days is mp3 stuff snatched from KG and odd new albums people send me DL codes for.
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bedouin
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by bedouin »

Love buying CDs. Have since I can remember.
I can't think of a more personal (purchasing) experience than buying them.
I don't consider myself a collector, and don't care for complete discographies. I had all Stones records up to Start me up, but then gave up with them, and round about the same time I sold all my LPs, to start with CDs.

I kind of think there is a holy grail of around 1000 essential discs, which morphs over the years. And this is what I have on CD of course. Files is not enough. The way they are stored - in some semi ordered way - is like an ever changing collage. It's visual, but there is a lot more to it - for me at least.

No visitor has shown much interest to even look at them, as most of the people around me care not for Cage, Sugimoto or Webern. Though, a 70yr old briton, carpenter, who lives near by in the woods, old school guy, came by recently to fix the door and after a quick glance managed to unearth all my Giuffre discs. I played some Evan Parker, for him too.

I no longer see the fascination for LPs. They are just a major inconvenience, sound worst than properly mastered CDs and deteriorate rapidly. For sure digital is the future.
My current system is all digital front end (mac mini, and -less used- cd transport) feeding my totally awesome DAC / amp. sound quality is TOP, especially where I live - no neighbours for a few hundred meters.

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Piano Mouth
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by Piano Mouth »

I buy records because I think they sound good, and lounging around with a joint or two with some records is a good way to spend the afternoon when there's not much else to do. I also have been buying mp3s through iTunes, and am a avid Spotify user. I used to buy CDs, but my current car doesn't have a CD player, so I don't really see why I should. I never understood the "Cassette Revival" if you will. I don't really like cassettes at all actually!

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bryan
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by bryan »

I enjoy all the formats and the different experiences in each. It's all about the strong memory association that goes beyond the music.

highly anticipated CD release on a Tuesday. Get to the car, wrestle the shrink wrap off and put it in the CD player, letting the first sounds bump out of the car doors as you drive out of the parking lot..

first time hearing this or that on a fresh cassette or dub from a friend, tape hiss in the silence. worried that your tape player will eat your favorite tape.

listening to music arranged for LP sides, on LP. oh, so there's a break between this song and the next where you get up and flip the record over..and then the first song on side 2 has a special impact.

etc etc... and then I can connect a memory to a thing that is becoming uniquely worn with time, whereas the digital file is always the same.. well..except for that rip of an advance stream where the ad warning sound pops in..even after getting the real copy, I like that bad digital stream rip (still have it saved).

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snailed
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by snailed »

Still buy the occasional CD and more often (cheap) vinyl. Cassettes I have been having more fun with lately since I hooked up my thrift store cassette player into my good monitors.

I think tapes have the same appeal as vinyl to me. No tendency to skip around, etc. I like having to flip a side when the album was designed for that sort of break. I also like the portable appeal of tapes. I like that you can put 90 minutes of music in your pocket in a physical format. Kind of a nice medium between an iPod and vinyl.

Basically I like when the format has some impact on the actual music. Listening to albums that were designed for vinyl on vinyl is a different experience than listening to them digitally. Same for tapes and CDs, though perhaps less so re: CDs.

Something I haven't really acted on yet but: I think CDs are at a low price right now and it's a good time to stock up on them. Most CDs on Discogs are $3 when the vinyl is $20+.

I digitize everything in ALAC or FLAC that I get on CD and have a really large lossless music collection. But I want to buy a CD when something has had an impact on me and I'd like to fully explore the album with the packaging, etc. Whether I buy vinyl or CD depends on what's available, if there's a digital download included, and if it was designed with a specific format in mind.

I have never paid for a digital download separately, but have bought vinyl/CDs on the basis of a digital download being included right away.

F&B
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Re: Owning physical copies

Post by F&B »

I just figured I'd stick to all formats, as some vinyls are too expensive, CD is a nice format for crisp sound, and tapes are nice if playing stuff that was originally demo's.

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