Thursday, October 7, 2010

Technology vs. Nostalgia: Part One--the Audiophile

Back in 2006, I thought I was ready. I bought an iPod, loaded it up and burned back-up copies of all of my CDs. Then I sold my entire CD collection on eBay. I was ready to embrace the new MP3-only world that seemed fast approaching. As it turned out, I wasn’t.

As a little back story, I’m not much of a hoarder or collector or keeper-of-things. If I haven’t used something in a week I’m ready to get rid of it. So I have always been selling portions of my CD collection. CDs I wasn’t listening to at a particular time were sold to the local record store to make room and money for new ones. But I always maintained a fairly sizeable collection. Until I sold them all. ALL of them. Even the ones that were NEVER cut during one of my semi-annual collection purges.

And I thought I was ready.

For the first few months, it was okay. But then I found myself getting the itch. I was missing digging through the CD bins. Missing scouring eBay for good deals on out-of-print discs. Missing the hulking collection of discs that was always stored in alphabetical order next to my stereo. When I started getting those urges, I started doing something that kind of felt like the bulimia of CD addiction. I would buy discs regularly for a few months, accumulate a mini-collection, and then throw them all up on eBay. Then I would start anew.

But why? Why did I miss my CD addiction so much? Certainly it was cheaper to just buy MP3s off iTunes or Amazon. Certainly it takes up less space in the house. No need for a bulky CD tower. Certainly it is more environmentally friendly, since no resources would be used to create the physical product. But damn, nostalgia is a nag. I was missing the goofy shit. Unwrapping a new CD, carefully removing the white sticker that annoyingly ran across the top, popping the fresh disc into the player. The things I had done thousands of times since 1993 when I got my first CD player for my fifteenth birthday.

Now, four years after selling my CD collection, after spending seventeen years and thousands of dollars buying music, I own about six CDs. And I miss my collection. My fully loaded iPod does not cut it. Silly as it is, I want that physical product with the liner notes and the case and the disc and the unwrapping and the alphabetizing. So I’m planning to re-build my collection. Evolution be damned. I don’t have to accept the technology if I don’t want to. I mean, the albums are still going on my iPod, so it’s not like it’s going to be 1998, with me having to pick and choose which discs I take in the car with me. I just like the idea of having that physical archive.

Like I said, nostalgia is kind of a bitch. Or I’m nostalgia’s bitch. Either way. I miss my CD collection. And I thought I was ready.

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