V.com weekend vote: How many CDs do you have?

September 17, 2021, 10:00 PM · Recently I was talking via Zoom with fellow violinist Renée-Paule Gauthier (who runs the excellent Mind Over Finger podcast) and I noticed something behind her -- a wall of CDs. Tons of them.

pile of CDs

"Ahhh, I see you have a CD collection," I said. I, too, have such a wall, with hundreds of CDs. For a while, though, I didn't even have a functional CD player to play my CDs. Then once I upgraded to a computer with no disc drive, I could no longer play any CDs! My husband came to the rescue with a very nice gift - a Bose speaker that will both play a CD and connect to my phone via bluetooth, so I can stream music as well. (It's not a smart speaker -- so far we have resisted allowing that nosey, all-knowing Alexa into our home!)

Do I listen to my many wonderful CDs? I confess, not very often. Whenever I do, I think about how nice it is to listen to music on that lovely speaker, to read program notes, to hold something in my hands. But much of the time I listen to Spotify in the car, or to Youtube on my computer. It's not exactly an audiophile experience!

I hold on to my CDs, though, and I also enjoy getting new ones. I love the little booklets in the CDs, and I also enjoy being able to have an artist sign a CD at a concert. You can't exactly sign an mp3 (or can you now?) Having a library of physical media just feels different than having a playlist on Spotify. To me it's somehow more comforting.

I do know that this is probably generational - I am from the 20th century! I occasionally slip and ask a student, "Have you listened to the CD?" and sometimes they look at me a little quizzically. Many do not have a CD player in the home!

Do you have a collection of CDs or other physical media like LPs, or do you mostly use streaming services? If you have CDs or LPs, do you have a large or small collection? Do you have any of the ones in the picture? :) Do you listen to your CDs, or do they just sit there while you listen to music via other media? How do you feel about CDs, do you want to keep them or do they just take up room? Do you think it's necessary for artists to continue to release physical CDs when they make recordings? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts and experiences.

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Replies

September 18, 2021 at 03:47 AM · I have about 300, mostly classical, and now that you’ve asked I realize that I listen to them ever less as time passes. Every now and then I buy another, but that behavior also seems to be diminishing with passing time. How valuable are they to me? Again, with the passage of time, it would seem less so. For some reason that makes me feel a little sad.

I have a stereo receiver and a CD player as separate components in my music system, and along with my desktop computer, that’s my entire home entertainment system. I haven’t owned a TV for decades.

There’s a used record and CD store (mostly CD’s) a few miles away from me, and when I’m looking for something I’m inclined to look there first. I can often find what I’m looking for, usually in new or near new condition, and for a small fraction of the “new” price. Of course buying that way doesn’t help the music industry, as they get nothing from the transaction. If my own behavior is typical, I’d assume that the CD industry will be on life support soon, if it’s not already.

And I should add that I can see six CD’s in your picture that I also have.

September 18, 2021 at 10:03 AM · I have scrutinized the photo, Laurie, but I can't see anything that I own. I calculate roughly that I have about 500. They are loosely classified into: chamber music (including solo single instruments), symphonic (including concertos), medieval/renaissance/baroque, opera (including musicals), and lied/art songs. Unlibrarianly(?), there is also a section reserved for Bach, Haydn and Beethoven, because they are special.

There is plenty of duplication: three versions of Ravel's string quartet, and two complete Beethoven quartet cycles: the Alban Berg Quartett and the Quartetto Italiano, as well as several other singles of Beethoven quartets, so that each is represented three times on average. Mozart's 'Idomeneo' appears in three versions, Monteverdi's 'Orfeo' in four. There are at least five 'Winterreise': it's an obsession.

I listen less as my stereo system does not admit headphones, unfortunately. I am not getting rid of the collection, however, as I culled about 50 horrors a few years ago!

September 18, 2021 at 12:35 PM · I actually have more reel-reel recordings than I do CD's. In the 70's while living in Berlin, I used to record almost every broadcast of the Berlin Philharmonic in addition to numerous special broadcast based on various themes. Since this was while Berlin was surrounded by "The Wall" there was the opportunity to record many East German broadcasts from DDR1 or DDR2.

I don't play my CD's very often because I only have one computer that still has a working CD player. I've gone through a bunch of CD/DVD players/recorders and none of them last very long!. My Akai GX260 reel-reel recorder/player still works as well as ever (bought around 1975 in Berlin PX).

Unfortunately, many of my reel-reel recordings made in the 70's are not in great condition. One of my "future" projects is to re-record them to a Solid-state hard drive for archiving and playing.

September 18, 2021 at 02:22 PM · I still need CDs for my car. Currently: Beach Boys: Surfer Girl/ Shut Down, Volume 2. Always in the summer.

September 18, 2021 at 07:35 PM · Voted 101-200, but I think I'm right around 200. About 80% are classical and most of the rest are jazz. They're not sorted at all, except that I have a few box sets of composers' complete symphony cycles that I keep together. (Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, Nielsen, and Atterberg, for the record.) But right at this moment, while my desktop computer is kaput and I haven't yet had time to set up the new desktop I bought to replace it, the only working CD player I have is in my car.

September 18, 2021 at 10:54 PM · I'm with Ann... I still listen to CDs in my (old) car. Laurie, I have to admit my heart skipped a beat when I saw the CD with Fodor on the cover. As another Colorado girl, can we ever forget that photo of Eugene on the horse???

September 19, 2021 at 05:14 PM · I personally own very few CD's--only those with music my husband doesn't relate to. He has hundreds of classical CD's though, plus some Grateful Dead. My 19 year old daughter has gotten into some of the rock of the 80s and 90s and has quite a collection of CDs from thrift stores. Over the summer she played them in the CD player of her car on a road trip and we bought her an external CD/DVD burner for her laptop so that she can still listen to them at college.

If I really love an album (or a movie), I'll buy the CD/DVD so that I'm not at the mercy of the streaming services and their licensing changes.

September 19, 2021 at 08:14 PM · I voted <50, but I forgot about the CD/DVD sets of Christian Conference addresses, which would bring it up to well over 100.

September 19, 2021 at 08:38 PM · I have well over 5,000 CDs and get more every month. Lots of classical and early music, but also rock, country jazz and blues. Just this week I got a 12-CD set of Faure music and an Elizabethan Christmas CD by Parthenia viol consort (on which my gamba teacher plays!). Besides my 4,000+ commercial CDs I also have a few hundred Bob Dylan bootleg CDs (mostly concerts but also session outtakes) and also hundreds of Grateful Dead concerts in bootleg recordings. I need CD players badly, about 3 right now. I need one in my car, and I need better CD players in my house and workshed. The stuff I have on CD is not found on streaming services! I tried to use the Naxos app for streaming because they have such an awesome catalog of classical AND early music, but the app was so buggy and unreliable and expensive (like $25/month!) that I quit.

September 20, 2021 at 03:11 AM · none -mo money

September 20, 2021 at 11:41 AM · I have been around stereos since I was born. My father had a collection of classical music on lps. When cds were released, I began buying music on them. Over the years my cd and lp collection has increased in size. Back then it was the best way to hear music at home. It was the way to discover music. People today are fortunate that so much music is available on YouTube, and streaming platforms. Discovery is easy. The streaming services now have high quality recordings.

I suppose I am not a card carrying member of the audiophile club, as my system is not so hot. However, I truly appreciate it. I never invested the money in it. I was exposed to it. One of my teachers was a principal in a symphony orchestra. He was an audiophile. He had magneplanar speakers. They were amazing. You could hear the space. I am also very much a fan of tube systems. I know they are not as accurate as digital ones, but the sound is so warm.

September 20, 2021 at 11:52 AM · I had to do a quick count, and had more than I thought . (200 something )

I also have quite a few LP’s too..

I don’t listen to them at the moment as I had to get a new sound system, and they don’t make CD players for it, although apparently you can get compatible ones.

I also have an old car that had an awesome sound system, till the CD player died , so they’re mothballed there too.

September 20, 2021 at 04:46 PM · My COVID project was to digitize all of my photos and slides. And now, after moving I am importing all of my CD’s to my Apple Music Library. They are backed up in numerous ways. I am keeping those that have been autographed by the artist. I don’t understand why the program notes aren’t included in a digital download, so getting rid of all of that is difficult. I rarely listen to a streaming service but find I hear more of my own music now that my digital library has been undated. I am selling the CD’s at Half Priced Books so others can enjoy them.

September 21, 2021 at 11:53 PM · I'd say I have a bit more than 200 CDs (lots of folk as well as classical), plus I still have my original collection of 700 LPs (mostly '70s rock but a few classical ones there too). I have lots of MP3s on my computer as well. I listen to whatever strikes my fancy at the time. The thing I like about having my own copies as opposed to streaming is that I can listen to any of them anytime I want, without having to pay someone over and over and over - or watching them vanish from the streaming menus because they're no longer in vogue.

September 24, 2021 at 10:54 PM · I love cds. Between mine and hubby I'm sure we have several hundred, some that get listened to more than others and plenty that we use our digital copy more than the physical copy but for me it's so much easier to scan a physical library and more enjoyable to set up an album playlist that way than through the seemingly infinite internet. We do stream a lot as well, but I tend to purchase cds of my favorites for easy car pop-in or play on my awesome "new" $30 garage sale stereo system! And it's something my young kids can learn to handle for their bedrooms...though it's hard to find a dependable room-size player these days!

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