In the era of the cloud, holding onto a CD collection can seem outdated or redundant. Compared to digital music, CDs take up space, they’re expensive, and the discs and their attendant packaging are no friends of the environment. But in this New Yorker article, Alex Ross argues in favor of the CD library. There are many good reasons for holding onto those old CDs, Ross contends, reasons both sentimental and economic.
Yet I’m wedded to the wall of plastic. I like browsing the spines—Schnabel, Schnebel, Schnittke—and pulling out disks at random. Even in the age of Wikipedia, liner notes and opera librettos can be informative. (Not everything exists online: I tried and failed to find the libretto for Franz Schreker’s “Christophorus,” which begins with the lines “Her eyes—hot summer. / Her thinking—cool.”) I get a pang of nostalgia in seeing recordings that I bought almost thirty years ago… My working process as a critic revolves around a stack of disks that I call the Listen Again pile: recent releases that have jumped out of the crowd and demand attention. None of this happens as easily on the computer. I experience no nostalgia for the first music I downloaded, which appears to have been Justin Timberlake.” – Alex Ross
Read the article: What’s Lost When the Cloud Replaces CDs (The New Yorker)