No, I Am Not Getting Rid of My Thousands of CDs
Our chief classical music critic writes in praise of going to a shelf, pulling out a recording and sitting down to listen.
In the late 1970s, when I was living in Boston, the record store of choice for classical music fans was the Harvard Coop. It had an extensive catalog and informed salespeople eager to offer invariably strong opinions on which albums to buy. I’d often bump into friends and fellow musicians, all of us flipping through bins of LPs. After making a purchase I’d have to squeeze yet more shelf space out of my cramped apartment, but I was pleased at my growing home library.
Then, in 1982, CDs arrived. Slowly everyone started converting from 12-inch vinyl LPs to four-and-a-half-inch plastic CDs in jewel-box cases that required a completely different storage setup. And what were you supposed to do with your old LPs?
Now the cycle has repeated itself, with CD sales dwindling to a fraction of their heights a couple of decades ago. Download and streaming services have taken hold, and physical discs have become obsolete. After all, with everything available online, why clutter up your living space?