Skip to content

Physical media

OK, I’m a dinosaur. I still buy CDs rather than MP3s. I like the physical backup. Hard disks die with alarming regularity. I like having access to the original hi-fi mix, even though the first thing I do is rip it (to 256 kbps VBR AAC, a reasonable compromise between quality acceptable for most of my listening devices, and disk size). I could always go back and rip it lossless if I wanted. I still don’t have enough disk space to rip my whole CD library in either the original format or AIFF (>1k CDs). Heck, I still haven’t ripped my whole library into 256K!

In any case, I still buy CDs. I still find it odd, and annoying, that CDs ordered from Amazon come with the little celophane pull-tab that has to be pulled off, underneath the shrink wrap. Do physical music stores exist anymore? The Tower on Lake has been gone for years. Is the Virgin in Burbank still open? I guess Continental still is. But I only buy used CDs there.

With the ease of finding MP3s to download for free, do the record companies think that they’re 1) winning customers, or 2) losing them, by treating those T. Rex’s of us left who still pay $13.99 for physical media as potential thieves? And does that little annoying bit of tape make it any less easy for me to upload the music to a torrent? Does being treated like a potential thief make me more or less likely to do so?

It’s the same problem with movies, and TV. By far the highest quality, quickest, and most important, easiest way to get the latest TV show or movie is to torrent it. No FBI warnings, no previews that can’t be skipped, no commercials (I don’t even mind commercials if I don’t have to watch the same seven year old one six times during the Daily Show. I’m looking at you, Boxee. Really? The same old shampoo commercial six times?) And all the other methods in general aren’t even 720p HD. So why did I buy that 46 inch 1080p top of the line Samsung?.

I would happily do this legally if the content providers just didn’t make it so damn hard. It’s like they want me to be the criminal they treat me as.