Lately, I’ve been debating about whether I want to go all digital with my music and for future music purchases. I’ve converted pretty much all of my music to the MP3 format already, but I still end up buying a lot of music on CDs. These CDs take up space and require a bit of time to organize them so that I can access them later. Much of my debate about this was prompted by a statement in the Music Man article I linked to earlier this week:
Rubin also suggested (strongly) that Columbia become the first major record company to go green and abolish plastic jewel boxes for all its CDs.
While I would not call myself a hard-core environmentalist, I do think that we should do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment, and this statement resonated with me. Thus, I started looking around at my CD collection and realized that once I copy the CD to iTunes, I rarely look at the CD case again; it gets stored away with the rest of the CD cases and end up taking up space.
That being said, I do enjoy reading the liner notes when I purchase a CD. And, I’m able to get a higher quality track when copying from a CD than when purchasing from iTunes, although I believe this will change over time. Furthermore, I like buying CDs because a CD is a tangible item; when I buy a CD, I walk away with a product. I can then resell or trade that product to someone else. With digital music, I can’t do that.
One thing to consider about digital music is that it somewhat changes the paradigm of the concept of an album. Will artists continue to sell traditional collections of songs or will we see artists creating less songs, but better quality songs because they don’t need to create “filler” songs to round out an album? How will that affect my purchasing habits? Will I buy more, will I buy less, or will I buy about the same amount of music?
The fact is, digital music is the future. Purchasing digital music is easy and fairly cheap. Unfortunately, with the flexibility of digital music comes the problem of DRM. Most CDs are not encumbered with DRM, whereas most digital tracks are. Hopefully, EMI moving to DRM-free tracks on iTunes will initiate a shift in the industry, but that remains to be seen. No other labels seem to be stepping up as of yet, but I’m still hopeful.
I don’t know that I’ve reached a resolution yet, but I’m leaning towards going all digital for any future music purchases. With sites like eMusic, which offers DRM-free digital music, I can avoid at least some of the DRM problems. And, many albums on iTunes offer digital liner notes. What are your thoughts?
Have you gone all digital with your music?