I still have roughly 500 CDs in my house. The audio kind, that is; 500 hours of music, most of it somehow not yet ripped into MP3 format, everything from the Beatles to an classical improvisation trio from Lancaster, Pa., much of it slowly being forgotten as I move inexorably away from physical music ownership.
Tonight I rekindled my project to get them digitized once and for all. A stack of CDs has migrated from my wall unit to my desk, slowly but surely making its way onto my hard drive. And I’m boggling my mind with the discs I’ve somehow never gotten onto my iPod.
How is it that I have Radiohead’s “The Bends,” and every album from “Kid A” through “In Rainbows,” in iTunes, but I never pulled in “OK Computer?” Why do I have Huevos Rancheros’ “Dig In!” on there and not Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend,” which I must have played hundreds of times in my car’s CD player in the 1990s? Actually, I only have one of my six Matthew Sweet albums on my iPod. Do I really look back that little?
Apparently so. And perhaps this is why the end of WRXP, New York’s only modern rock station, resonated so heavily with me. With the exception of two pop and a few hip-hop stations, almost every spot on the commercial radio dial in New York is stuck in the past. Sure, the past has moved up from the 1960s to the 1980s; but if I want to hear a contemporary rock song–or jazz, or metal, or country for that matter–I’m going to have to turn off the radio. I want modern, interesting, progressive music on the radio: NPR for songs. Instead, I get “Eye of the Tiger.”
So I undertake this CD-to-MP3 migration in a bit of a catch-22. I can’t move these discs out of my apartment until they’re (mostly) available on my computer, yet the vast majority of the effort is going to wind up worthless, as I go years without listening to the music I’m diligently migrating; but without doing this, I could never let go of my CDs, even as they slowly collect dust until I randomly grab one to bring into the car. (I never did replace my CD player.) Maybe I should get a Spotify Premium subscription and just move on.