Digital Music versus CD version

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miTunes75

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Man oh man.....

I know I have mentioned this story before, but I used to be a downloader who didn't pay for anything. There was about 5 years in which I never paid a dime. But, guilt struck in and I got rid of all downloaded items.

After about 2 years, i'm STILL trying to rip my cd collection. Time is just the issue.

Over the last 3 months, I have purchased music through iTS. WOW! What a convenience! I know there are people already about ready to click reply and go off about the sound quality. However, I enjoy the ease of having it on my HDD with a click of a button without having to drag a cd out. Plus, I love the fact that I no longer need to find additional room for my purchases. No need to keep buying binders upon binders to hold cds in. Click, and everything is done, and stored for you. What an amazing amount of storage space I have saved. Now, I have purchased a cd recently b/c it isn't avail through the store. But, what a difference this has made in my life.

This is a testimonial, if you will.

Comments?
 

Galley

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If your computer is lost in a fire, or stolen then you have nothing, and no way to re-download them. Back up religiously, and store those backups in another location.
 

MellowTone41

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Why would you pay 99 cents per song for music you already have on cd.? If you are wasting your money like that you need to be shot. There are plenty of people out there who could use the money.
 

Dr.Gonzo

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I buy all music from iTunes and eMusic. CDs are to expensive, and too unpredictable, what with copy protection or not burning correctly. If I'm given a CD for Christmas or a friend or relative has CDs that I'll like, I'll burn it from them, but that's about the extent of it.
 

kornchild2002

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Well, I think that 128kbps AAC is actually pretty good in terms of sound quality. Many people say that they can hear its flaws but don't backup their claims with blind ABX tests. They simply switch from one song to another on their iPod/Computer, that isn't blind at all and they are suffering from the placebo affect.

If you rip your CDs to the 128kbps iTunes AAC format then you don't have anything to worry about in terms of quality because you already find it suitable. I agree that it is extremely easy to just click your mouse to get your music. I just wish that they sold lossless content so I could truly do what I want with the music that I own. That is why I like purchasing the CDs. It might be a hassle to rip them but at least you own them and can do whatever you want with them. Purchased digital audio content is not the same. The iTunes Store has moved to iTunes Plus tracks which are DRM free and encoded at 256kbps but this is only for EMI/Virgin Records artists. It is in the right direction but they really need to sell DRM-free lossless files.

Hence, I will use the iTune Store to purchase those digital only EP's, singles, and albums. I will also use it to download those hard to find songs/albums or to download that one song I like off of an album. Other than that, I will stick to purchasing the CD as I can get the quality I want and I can make a lossless backup so I rip the CD once and never have to do it again.

The iTunes Store is nice and it produces quality files but I want the freedom to do whatever I want with my music and I know that these 128kbps AAC files will sound worse when compared against 128kbps AAC files that come out in the next 1-2 years.
 

bdb

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I've bought a lot of music from eMusic. iTMS is about as expensive as most independent-label CDs, and I get a nice case and liner, and I never have to justify to myself whether the quality is good enough. I enjoy getting a CD in the mail far more the the instant gratification of an electronic download. The time that it takes to rip it are inconsequential, and is probably little or no more than the time to download the album.

A year or two ago I'd have worried about copy-protection, but the Sony rootkit incident for the most part convinced the labels that it really is a bad idea. Independent labels have never transgressed into that anyway (as far as I know).
 

Chanelly8908

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I agree with the fact that downloading music is easier. I don't find many cds that I am willing to spend $12.99 for, since I only like one or two songs on the cd. But like Galley said you should back up all your music.
 

jubal117

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I only buy CD's when they are of groups I really like. I have only bought a 10 CD's this year. I download anything I know I won't like in a couple of months.
 

Cold Irons

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me, I still like to get, hold, look at, own...the CD. As bdb said above, I like getting a CD in the mail much more that the instant purchase off of iTunes. I do occasionally pick up the hard to find/just want one song off the album songs on iTunes, but, out of my 15500 songs in iTunes, I think about 200 are from iTunes.

I'm much happier ripping my own CDs and owning the CD. I've plenty of shelf space....
 

PKfanSteph

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I will always prefer having the audio CD. There's just something about the smell of a freshly opened disc and the feel of having something tangible to hold. But with budget and space restrictions, it's not always practical. When I buy from iTunes, it's typically less than 1/3 of an album unless it's an "iTunes Exclusive". There have been two cases where I've "upgraded" from a few digital purchases to buying the CD--but the CDs were on sale really cheap. I also have a basic eMusic subscription which is great for stuff I wouldn't normally spend $10-15 per CD on.

Quality-wise, I think it's more of a psychological thing. I probably couldn't tell the difference under most circumstances. But being free to do with a track whatever I please and put it into whatever format I need without losing quality in the conversion is something I really do appreciate.

Backing up your collection is a good idea whether you have audio CDs or digital music. My CD collection and my computer are in the same room, so one catastrophe (which, here in Iowa could be floods, fire, tornadoes, etc) could ruin it all. But I'm much more concerned with my personal photos--I really need to put those in a safe deposit box; most music can be re-purchased, photos can't.

My 0.02
 

misper666

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same, i much prefer owning the CD. but things are changing that have an impact on how / where i buy. like, i used to love going in tower records or other large shops with a broad selection of stuff in the genres i like, whilst on a day out somewhere. alas, record shops are dropping like flies.

other times i'd be on the net, curiosity, boredom will lead me to some music sites. i have found that, it's much better to gooogle up your favourite or similar artists & find their own websites - they probably have downloads available, some free promos, but more importantly, better quality than what you'd get in itunes. but you might pay more.

i'd much prefer encoding CD audio to a format of my choice. on the net, you get what you're given. i probably only buy two albums a year off itunes for the following reasons:

  • i don't want DRM
  • they don't have everything i want
  • they won't let you buy from overseas stores (buy you can buy other goods from abroad), even if the artist was from your country but the download is somewhere else
  • if i must have their mp3 format then i'd like 192 or 320 kbps

so yes, CD good, iTunes ok(ish), artist site better
 

GregMac1213

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I have pretty much given up on CDs for one main reason: storage. After 20 plus years of being a heavy CD collector, there is officially no more room. It was either start downloading or buy a bigger house.

These days, I get my music from iTunes, eMusic, or, now, amazon.
I'll still buy the occasional CD, especially if it's an import that none of the online services offer. But outside of that, it's digital all the way.
 

Bowlerguy92

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I haven't purchased a CD since American Idiot about 5 years ago. Digital music is what it's all about for me now. I have Yahoo Music Unlimited for $120 a year and can download all the music I want. I then take the DRM off and slap it into iTunes and put it on my iPod. It's the perfect system.
 

Code Monkey

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While I don't care about having a physical CD, I do care about sound quality and future proofing, so the only download I'll pay for is lossless. At this point I've got about 26,500 music tracks archived as lossless and only about 3000 as lossy only files. I plan on having that number approaching 0 within a year or so.

Paying anything for lossy files except under very limited circumstances makes as much sense as paying for somebody to come dump sewage on my back porch. The only time I'll buy a lossy encode is if it is literally the only format you can get the music in.

As soon as someone finally realises that it costs less than a dime to deliver a lossless album over the internet, less than a dime to store it on a server, but would sell like the proverbial hotcakes at about $4.99, netting at least $4.50 after any and all overhead related to digital distribution, then we might actually see the CD superceded. As long as the industry is stuck with two assinine propositions: that people should pay for lossy files and that people should pay the same or higher prices for, essentially, nothing, digital distribution will remain as a relatively small portion of music sales.
 

AlphaRob

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It's really an interesting question. I think that a year ago my answer might have been different. But today, digital music is the way to go. It's no longer "the future", it's the now. It's a matter of convenience and instant gratification. Quality isn't an issue at all with 90% of the user base. And with the WiFi iTunes WiFi store, it's really amazing. I've gone to the mall and been told of an awesome song and bought it on the spot, and now I own that song, I have it on my iPod, I didn't even need to go to my computer. I could have bought that CD right there and then, but would have to have waited until I got home to actually listen to it.
 

Code Monkey

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AlphaRob said:
Quality isn't an issue at all with 90% of the user base.
This gets thrown around all the time, but it's a flawed analysis. Among other things, you can't count all users equally. The guy who buys five new albums every week and has walls covered with CDs & vinyl is worth several dozen times as much as your average "buys 5 $0.99" singles a month off of iTunes user to the industry. Further, it's obviously not true. iTunes, representing more than 90% of the digital sales, still represents less than 10% of all music sold.

It may not be possible to conclude that these more than 90% of music sales in the form of CDs were purchased primarily because of quality issues, but it is possible to state categorically that it fails to support the conclusion that 90% of the user base doesn't care about quality and is a strong indicator against such a conclusion.
 

Cold Irons

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AlphaRob said:
It's really an interesting question. I think that a year ago my answer might have been different. But today, digital music is the way to go. It's no longer "the future", it's the now. It's a matter of convenience and instant gratification. Quality isn't an issue at all with 90% of the user base. And with the WiFi iTunes WiFi store, it's really amazing. I've gone to the mall and been told of an awesome song and bought it on the spot, and now I own that song, I have it on my iPod, I didn't even need to go to my computer. I could have bought that CD right there and then, but would have to have waited until I got home to actually listen to it.
Probably just showing my age - but I still want the physical CD. I own over 1200 CDs & that ain't enough! As Code Monkey says, if/when someone is offering LOSSLESS albums at a reasonable discount vs. the CD price, I might change my mind.

Quality is important to me - hence the CD, but I also want the artwork, liner notes, etc. I also want control (maybe that's the real rub). With the CD, I can do whatever I want digitally - pull off a FLAC version to keep, rip it as a full WAV file if I want to construct a mix CD for later use, etc.

And, getting the CD is easier than the old days....no more driving 30 minutes to town & searching CD stores - just pop onto Amazon & other services, do a search, & place an order. A few days later.....CDs in the mail!
 

S2_Mac

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For me, the CD serves two purposes: my old-fashioned urge to have a physical thing (like an LP, 8-track, cassette, etc.) and as a backup medium. Burned CDs don't survive well outside a pampered environment; stamped CDs can take a real lickin' and still rip well.

(Plus, when I buy a CD I know the artist is getting the best payout; too many labels look at e-sales as being "bulk licensing," which pays at a lower rate.)
 
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