Keep streaming in its place

CJ Chilvers on why he’s back to using CDs:

I brought physical media back into my life not to replace streaming, but to keep streaming in its place.

I heard an audiophile once say that he treated streaming music services (even lossless streaming) like radio. It’s great for discovering new music and artists, and to play at parties, but it’s not for serious listening. I think that’s a perfect analogy.

Movies are my physical media collecting medium of choice, but the analogy stands. Streamers are not infinite archives—they’re good for conveniently spotlighting new and selected titles for only a certain amount of time.

If you truly love a title, get a physical copy and don’t surrender to the vicissitudes of media conglomerates whose only concern is their bottom line.

3 responses to “Keep streaming in its place”

  1. I’ve made four changes in my music journey since I started buying vinyl in my youth. Vinyl => CD => MP3s => streaming. It’s been a good 12-15 years I’d say since I bought a CD. I stream these days for the convenience, but you’re not wrong on any of your points. And I do run across artists whose entire body of work is not available because licensing is hard. Sometimes that one key album is missing.

    Reintroducing physical media would mean a complete rethink of our lifestyle. We downsized, and because we were over a decade into the digital lifestyle all those old CDs and DVDs were donated. There would need to be a rethink of where this new media would live. And the non-trivial outlay of acquiring all the equipment to play said media again.

    Could be done. But it would be a whole thing.

    1. You’re right that there’s a cost to it in money and space, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Luckily I never liquidated my movie collection like others have, so it’s much easier to tend to it casually. I almost always acquire titles either very cheaply secondhand at thrift stores, Half Price Books, etc, or as gifts. Much of the pleasure comes from discovering things serendipitously, as opposed to just immediately buying from Amazon.

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