Thursday, 29 September 2011

Why I Don't Buy CD's

Ever heard someone say something and felt about two foot high? Yeah I had that uncomfortable feeling last night at Aye Tunes Presents gig (read the review here).

Headlining act The Sea Kings, who were very good (again read the review here), recounted on stage a story about someone who e-mailed stating that they had accidently purchased a physical copy of their EP and asked for a refund as they had only wanted to download the MP3's. "Under no circumstances send me a copy of your EP" laughed lead singer Brian, with guitarist Nicky quipping that the person must have heard the band play live before. It was a good interlude between songs, and brought a laugh to the audience at The Captain's Rest.

But here's my confession. That guy was me. Ouch. Humble. I feel this big.

I should state before continuing, I know the band were joking, I don't take offence, I laughed as well. Indeed I thought it was funny that the person was accused of being 'green' given I don't know which day our household recycling goes out on. But it made me think about if I was alone in not wanting a CD, instead prefering to have the downloads.

Now I should also say that in this instance circumstance had it's part to play. It was the afternoon before my weekly radio show on Pulse Community Radio and as usual I was very unorganised. I wanted to play a Sea Kings track so I could also offer a relevant plug to the gig, and as I was planning on going to the gig I though it would also be a good idea to listen to some of the band's material given I hadn't heard a note from them. So in order to do this I had to have the songs there and then. I mistakenly followed the link for ordering a physical copy instead of buying the MP3's. This meant I then had to pay another £4 to download the EP. (Some bands do actually offer an instant download upon purchasing a physical copy. I like this. However it's obviously up to the artist/label.)

And I should also state that I buy vinyl on a regular basis. (Cue more plugs. Read my Super Vinyl Adventure Club tales here.) I enjoying owning and listening to vinyl and where given the opportunity, so long as I can afford it, I will purchase a physical vinyl.

However I have not bought a CD in over a year and a half. There are two reasons for this I think. Firstly is my preference for vinyl. I will buy, where I can, a lot of new releases on vinyl. Therefore I do not want to duplicate and waste my money also buying a CD. (I'm not that much of a compulsive collector.) And given that I buy vinyl, when I am in the house I also, almost exclusively, listen to vinyl. Therefore if I bought a CD, I would not listen to it. Of course I do own and use heavily an iPod, and I am very much appreciative of the fact that most vinyl purchases come with download codes these days.

Secondly I have far too many CD's already. I have been buying music since I was about 13. I also spent a good bit of my youth gradually stealing my Dad's CD's and smuggling them into my own collection. I'm lucky my wife lets me store my vinyl's in our living room, but I would be pushing it if I started adding to my overflowing CD racks.

To me the CD is a dead format. That may sound strange from someone who collects vinyl, but bear with me. The age of the Walkman is past. Portable music is exclusively iPod's and MP3 players. And most CD stereos either come with MP3 player adations as standard or can be fitted with one easily. In fact it's probably easier to find a good set out speakers for your MP3 player than it is to find a standalone CD player. Also account for the fact that you have services like Spotify, iTunes, Last FM, plus hundreds of free music to stream online, basically means your laptop or computer can double up as a home entertainment system.

CD's are increasingly poor in quality. The jewel cases smash easily and the digipak ones are susceptable to wear and tear. In most cases they are purchased, ripped to iTunes, placed in a shelf, rack or worst case cupboard and never touched again.

So the above pretty much sums up why I didn't want to purchase the CD copy. Agan I feel I should state that this is nothing against the quality of the music on offer, after all I did download the same EP, but simpy that I didn't want to be wasteful of money, space and materials.


  1. Perfectly good reasoning behind not purchasing CDs. I'm glad you took the banter in the good humour that was intended.

    I have taken on board your point about making free downloads available to anyone who purchases a physical copy. I will discuss with the band and our IT guy to see how easy this is to set up.

  2. Hey Danny,

    Haha cheers, I was having a laugh about it with my mate on the way home.

    Regarding downloads when buying a physical copy: I personally think it's a brilliant idea, but that's just me.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and read.