In a world where streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are ubiquitous, it’s easy to forget the benefits of buying a CD. But before you turn your back on CDs, here are eight reasons why they’re still worth considering.
No Internet? No Problem
Streaming music can be a nightmare when you’re out of range or have spotty internet. However, CDs provide a reliable offline alternative. With a CD, you can enjoy your music without worrying about buffering or waiting for songs to load.
Of course, with a paid streaming subscription like Spotify Premium, you usually have permission to temporarily download music, but you still need to connect at some point to refresh your licenses. In contrast, your CDs will survive the collapse of internet infrastructure in the post-apocalypse.
Obscure and Rare Music
Music streaming services might boast millions of tracks, but they don’t have everything. CDs offer access to rare and obscure albums that you won’t find on any streaming platform. Collecting CDs allows you to explore your favorite artists’ lesser-known works or discover new artists you might not have found otherwise.
While you can get rare and obscure music from services like YouTube, uploaded by regular users, it’s often a game of whack-a-mole as content gets taken down. Of course some of the CDs you find might be so rare that no one will ever upload them.
You Can Preserve Old Mixes and Masters
Music remastering has become more common in recent years, but sometimes, it can be hit or miss. Owning the original CD ensures that you have access to the music as it was originally intended to be heard, including any nuances or subtleties that might have been lost in the remastering process.
Big Brother Can’t Delete Your Music
You don’t have to worry about anyone taking your music away when you own a CD. Music licensing deals change all the time, and sometimes that means your favorite tracks are no longer available on streaming services. Even if you’ve purchased digital music outright, what happens when the service inevitably shuts down? With a CD in your possession, you always have access to your music.
CD Booklets Are Awesome
There’s something special about opening a new CD and flipping through the booklet. CD booklets are filled with lyrics, photos, and artwork that help you connect with the music on a deeper level. This experience can’t be replicated by streaming services, and definitely brings something special to the music-listening experience.
You Can Make Your Own DRM-Free Digital Music
One of the most significant benefits of buying a CD is that you can rip it and create your digital music files. This means you can create a DRM-free library of your favorite tracks that can be played on any device, without being tied to a specific platform or subscription.
Of course, some CDs may have nasty DRM on them that makes it harder to make your own digital backups, but the majority of discs are trivial to back up for your own use while you still have the original disc safely tucked away.
Note: Before you use software to rip music from CDs you own for use in MP3 players or other devices, make sure you’re allowed to do that under the laws of the place where you live. For US residents, the RIAA outlines when it’s OK to rip CDs for personal use. So do familiarize yourself with the rules.
Cheaper Than Digital (Sometimes)
Believe it or not, sometimes CDs can be cheaper than their digital counterparts. Keep an eye out for sales; you might be surprised at the deals you can find. Unlike digital music, you can buy used CDs at places like pawn shops or thrift stores. Streaming subscriptions may not be particularly expensive, but when you consider buying a CD for a dollar gives you the right to listen to that music for so long as the disc lasts, physical media can be an amazing bargain.
Amazing Audio Quality
Last, but certainly not least, is the audio quality. CDs offer uncompressed audio that often sounds better than the compressed formats used by streaming services. If you’re a true audiophile and care about sound quality, CDs can provide a listening experience that’s a cut above the rest.
Of course, you can get access to lossless digital audio, but again there’s a vast, cheap, selection of CD music out there with top-tier audio quality to grab. Finding your favorite music online in a lossless digital format can be a pain, and quite pricey in some cases. With CDs, all of the music you get will have that level of fidelity.
So before you ditch your CD player forever and completely jump on the streaming bandwagon, consider the many reasons why CDs might still be worth your time and money. Whether it’s for the nostalgia, the audio quality, or the thrill of collecting, CDs still have a place in today’s music landscape.
What If I Don’t Have a CD Player?
CDs have a lot going for them, but what if you don’t have the required player? Then the disc are nothing more than plastic baubles!
The good news is that it’s still super-easy to get your hands on a CD player, and they run the gamut from cheap portable players to expensive audiophile-grade systems.
For example, this Deluxe Products portable player is just over twenty bucks, and is probably more than enough for most folk who just want to hook up some speakers or decent headphones to listen to their album collection.
If you want to share the love, the Magnavox MD6924 is a neat little boombox, which we all would have loved as kids, but now for thirty dollars its yours.
If quality is your top priority, then for just under a grand you could go for something like this Marantz, which nets you serious audiophile street cred.
If you want to (legally) rip your own CDs to use them with an MP3 player or on your phone, don’t forget that you’ll need an optical drive too!