5 Reasons Why Physical Copies of Music Still Matter

What was the last album you bought that wasn’t downloaded? Do you still have the CDs you collected as a child? Don’t look guilty. Even if your most recent purchases are from iTunes, at least you’re still buying music, which is the best way to support any artist, but nowadays there’s a stigma that comes with buying CDs. What used to be second nature has now turned into me standing in line at what little record stores are left with a bunch of dudes my dad’s age. We’re a dying breed.

Physical copies of music are dwindling and it’s getting harder to find anything at the places where I used to frequent the most. I’ve always dreamed of having my words on an album blurb – the little sticker on the album’s shrink wrap that tell you good things about what’s to come. Maybe one day CDs will become cool again, like vinyl, and I won’t sound like such an old fart, but until then, I’m still buying them until they become extinct.

You probably don’t care and are off downloading a new album right this second, but hear me out for a few minutes on why physical copies of music still matter.

1. You have something to hold in your hands.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever know what motherhood is like, but I imagine it to feel like that very moment when you pick up an album you’ve been anticipating for a while. Okay, I’m sure it’s better than that, but let me have my delusions. If you’re like me, you’ve probably even hugged your albums for a minute or two…or four. When it feels like music is all you have, you tend to turn into a looney tune. There’s nothing like buying music and having something to show for it.

2. The glorious smell of each individual album.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, please go away right now, or better yet, START SNIFFING! There’s nothing like that new album smell. In fact, some of my albums still smell the same as they did the day I bought them. Like music, an album’s smell can bring back certain emotions and memories of what life was like at the time of purchase. If they made men’s cologne that smelled like an album sleeve, I wouldn’t be opposed. Hey baby, you smell like my favorite album! Just don’t go around wearing Green Day’s “Dookie.” That wouldn’t go over too well. Just saying.

3. You get to go on a lyrical journey.

I love when the lyrics are printed in album booklets. If you listen to the entire album straight through, reading along with the lyrics is like listening to someone read you a story. I tend to think about what inspired the artist to write each song, all while piecing together how it relates to my life. The best part is, when you come back to certain songs later in life, it all starts to make sense and you pick up on things you never thought of during the first listen.

4. Browsing takes effort, but the end result is priceless.

^ Take me here!!

Sometimes, we’re on a mission to find a specific album, other times, we’re just browsing for something new. Either way, the art of record browsing still takes effort. We get so wrapped up in trivial things that we don’t stop to take a minute to find the little things that might brighten up our day – hence the instant gratification of digital music. Take a moment to stroll through the aisles and get lost.

5. It becomes a part of your life.

^ These two started it all for me.

I always say, “If it’s in your house, it’s a part of your life.” My music collection is probably the biggest part of my life – take that however you please. If I need a pick me up, a good cry or just something to drown out the noise in my head, there’s always an album for all of that and more. Every album I have has touched my life in some way and I’m a better person for it. Even if I never get to do the things I’ve dreamed, music will always be there to pick up the pieces.

Whether you’re buying physical copies of music or just downloading, as long as you’re connecting with it, buy however you please. I obviously have emotional attachments to inanimate objects and value things differently. I miss record stores and being able to find exactly what I want on release day. As long as you’re supporting the artists’ efforts, music has the same purpose no matter what format you’re listening from. On that note, let’s all say a solemn prayer for cassette tapes.