Friday, October 26, 2018

Music Collection Finally Going Digital

I was rich for three years when I was young. After finishing school in 1984, I lived in my parents house until 1987. I was earning around $18,000/year as a musician (not unimpressive, actually), and, with no rent or health insurance premiums to pay, I spent every damned cent. I wheeled around in a new Mazda RX-7 ($11K back then) and invested every other spare dollar into my burdgeoning book and record collection.

The collecting alone was a phenomenal education, even aside from the actual reading and listening. To this day, these collections leave me awed by how clued-in my 22 year old self had been. I was drafting on the innate youthful ability to rapidly synch up. But while most kids focus it on pop culture, sports, etc., I used it to get hip to Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Joe Frank and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

My first shared apartment was literally a closet in Park Slope, but the $250/month rent put an end to my easy spending; I was pretty viciously poor up to and through the Chowhound years, despite being respected in several fields. So I never could afford to buy CD versions of the many albums I hadn't heard in years. Lacking a turntable, I've been musically frozen in transit for a long time.

All along I've been burning the relatively few CDs I had to iTunes for mobile synching, but that's not an audiophile route, so most of my really good stuff has sat on the shelf in vinyl or CD. But last year I had the liberating experience of finding out I have 50% hearing loss (and falling!), relieving all audiophile pressures. This week, I decided to finally put everything into digital; to finally get caught up.

I went through my vinyl, checking for versions available as CD or digital download. Both are super cheap right now, as these formats are nearly obsolete. All-in-one streaming services are the future, but since my tastes are at the far end of obscurity, I prefer to own my music.

I found plenty of $4.50 used CDs on Amazon and eBay, but with shipping they'd be more like $8, and Apple iTunes or Amazon Digital often offer $8-10 downloadables. Their audio quality is a notch below CDs, but yay, deafness! So I wound up buying about 20 CDs (because they were super cheap or because digital downloads were unavailable), plus about 30 digital albums. It cost $325, probably a third as much as if I'd done this in the 90's when everyone else did it. I'll also pay a high-end service to digitize six treasured vinyl recordings that never made it into the digital age at $10/record.

Meanwhile, to hedge my bets, I managed to resurrect an old turntable. So while my vinyl collection is digitized for versatility, I'll still be able to play vinyl at home (though I'll still up-pay for fancy digital transfer of those magical six recordings). And, at long last, I'll get back to serious music listening...while I still can.

When I no longer can, I'll find other cool things to do. The world overflows with treasure, so I don't freeze my attention on what's missing

1 comment:

Display Name said...

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings


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