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TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Files

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Hey peeps, this is fresh from my blog. It kinda has a cynical attitude, so don't be scared by it. :P I had a ton of fun with this one. Let's get some good discussion going; feel free to disagree, raise some points, and we'll have a ball. ------------------- Physical Copies or Digital Files? The Modern Day Music Dilemma Modern day is interesting. The local records stores we all know and love are rapidly disappearing due to lack of profit or they are being subsidized by bigger corporations that stock nothing but the typical shelf fodder. All that remains are chain stores that I would rather not step into to look for music. Thank god for Amazon and online distros. You would have to be living under a rock for the past decade to not understand why this is happening. The fact of the matter is records don't sell like they used to. People don't want a hard copy of their favorite music anymore. They would rather obtain it illegally, or pay for a digital file. Pay for a digital file, you say? Yes. Personally, I would never think about paying for a digital file as A) I like to have something tangible. It makes little sense to pay for music I can't touch, especially when a hard drive crash could potentially happen, wiping out my music collection. B) I want the best quality possible. I won't touch a MP3 with a 10 foot stick unless it's correctly encoded to a verified 320kbps. Go ahead, call me picky. With a CD, I can rip the albums to my computer in FLAC or Lossless and have CD quality audio at one click. Then I can take those files and convert them to 320kbps MP3s for my digital audio player. iTunes and similar places should be ashamed that they swindle people out of money for a lower quality recording. I suppose I'm not the poor sap paying for a digital file, though. It's true. I like having a massive album collection, whether it's composed of compact disks, vinyl, or cassettes. Heck, I'll even include 8-track. The feeling of standing in a room surrounded by music is a sensation unlike any other. I can't explain it, but when I walk into a room full of music, I get very excited. It isn't the same scrolling through a screen deciding what to listen to. It's sterile and it doesn't evoke any emotion from me. I like browsing shelves of music. Yes, I primarily listen to music off of my computer and digital audio player. Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely not. 99% of the music stored on my hard drive I own a physical copy of. The rest I got from a friend. I can certainly say that my experience isn't the same as putting a record on the turntable or popping a compact disk into a hi-fi CD player, but I have enhanced my computer-based setup quite a bit. I use audiophile grade headphones plugged into a tube amp which is routed to a great DAC plugged into my laptop. It's sterile picking the music, not listening to it. I tend to listen to music this way because it's convenient. In the end, I guess I have nostalgia for something I barely experienced. The digital file era has been upon us for quite a few years now and it isn't going anywhere. For the most part, I've lived in the age of internet where people feel entitled to have everything right at their finger tips. "Hey man, have you heard the new Iron Maiden album?" "Nope. Let me go download it really quickly." Screw that. -TMA The original post can be found here: http://metaladvisor.blogspot.com/2011/07/physical-copies-or-digital-files-modern.html

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil my views in this matter: I remember when I bought my first cd record as if it was yesterday, I remember when I bought my first lp as if it was yesterday, but do I remember when I downloaded my first digital copy? no. what speaks in the way of digital files is that it's so much easier to access, you have in most cases much better quality and they don't break like physical records do. and if you'd happen to delete a file, you can just download it again. what's agains them is that they are so anonymus, what you basically have is a set of 0's and 1's and that's it. I have really nothing negative to say about physical copies, there's so more atmosphere about holding the booklet while listening to a cd the first time than just pressing play in windows media player. you own a physical record, you have digital files.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil It's all a matter of preference for most people. But I have a more practical view of this issue: For example, say I only have 20 dollars to buy music. I have two options; I can either buy a few CD's for only a few songs I like on each of them OR I can buy twenty songs that I do like digitally, if I buy them at all. In the end I believe digital copies win this round. Then there is the matter of convenience. Can you take your entire album collection in a car with you? I find this to be very unlikely. Can you drag around your vinyls to a party? Possibly, but there is a chance they will be broken, stolen, or otherwise lost at the event. Can you depend on your discs or cassettes to play at exactly the same quality every single time you play them? Maybe if you're paranoid about their condition, but I find this to be very improbable. Non-digital music also takes up space. Of course, to a person like you that doesn't matter much as it is something you find rather pleasant. Personally, I prefer to have 1,000+ songs on one device rather than in large amounts of CDs, cassettes, and vinyls. Each one of those things needs its own player as well, as you can't fit a cassette into a CD player. However, the question of 'what happens if your precious iPod or MP3 player breaks?' is raised, there is a simple answer to that question: if you bought the songs or illegally/legally downloaded it for free, you should still have an online-synced account that keeps track of the songs you downloaded. So in the even your music player broke AND your computer crashed, your songs are still there. There is something special about having CDs and cassettes, but I find that the advantages of digital music far outweigh the old style of music.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil Both of you, excellent responses. ;) The experience is big part of physical music. I find I prefer the sound signatures of most hi-fi CD players over those of digital audio players. I have yet to try the Hifiman HM-801 the apparent king of digital audio players when it comes to sound quality. That's on my list. It's true the convenience of digital music far outweighs that of "physical" music. It's easy to categorize and sort, and it's often a cinch to find your favorite tunes. However, if you lose all your music, you'd be hard pressed to find FLAC and Lossless files for "free" or even on site that sells files. There are sites like HD Tracks that offer high quality tracks, but I've found that they are sparse on metal. Of course, if MP3 compression (aside from ~320kbps) doesn't bother you then this isn't an issue. I've fought with the space issue many times before. I don't even know how many CDs I currently have (I'm guessing 1,500 or more at this point), and I have a bunch piled up on floor waiting for sorting. Now that is royal pain in the ass. :roll: Somehow it's quite satisfying when I'm done sorting as I can browse through the shelves and see how I've categorized my music (a simple pleasure for me). Vinyl is another story as it has to be stored upright so it doesn't warp, and it has to be cleaned periodically. I suppose that is the real pain in the ass. Cassettes can unravel, but you know how that goes. Like anything else, if physical formats are taken care of properly they have little chance of breaking. There's the issue of CD rot, but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime. In a nutshell, fragility of these formats in not a problem for me. As for portability, yep, I take my digital audio player everywhere I go. Digital music players have spoiled us in that area. Physical formats definitely can't compete here. I like your practical outlook, Holy Terror. P.S. CDs will play the exact same way every single time unless you severely scratch them. Vinyl will if it's taken care of and your turntable needle's performance is kept track of. Cassettes, well, they don't sound great to begin with, but I like 'em anyway.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil I was all digital for a while because I simply couldn't find new hard copies of music, most from friends, some from iTunes, and some pirated, because the bands aren't around anymore and I hate the record label; I'm not paying the label for music the band that doesn't exist anymore produced, unless it's hard copy. My collection of hard copies is small but satisfying. I love being able to play a CD or record on a stereo or record player. But I use my iPod the most, cuz it's a gift, so most of what I listen to is digital. I back it up EVERYWHERE in case of crash. I'd hate to lose my small collection of music, little more than a thousand songs. My thoughts on 'illegal' downloading (the ' ' because technically it's a gray area): I don't care, simply. Most bands I listen to have the philosophy of "steal this album" because they are being screwed by a label. They know that people like me, the true fans, will go to see them in every show they play nearby and buy shirts or CD's or whatever other merchandise there. That's where most (and all that I wear) of my shirts come from, and all but one of my hard copies. I've bought shirts, hoodies, shorts, wrist bands, whatever I could to directly support my favorite music. I've even let bands stay at my house to avoid wasting money for a night at a hotel.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil ^ As I understand it, very little profit goes to band when a record is sold (unless they're mega superstars or something). I buy records because I like to, nothing more. You're better off buying the merch or going to a show if you want to support them.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil

You're better off buying the merch or going to a show if you want to support them.
Which is why I do :D That's my musical philosophy, because bands have told me that profit is most of the time directly theirs.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil I prefer physical copies mainly for the experience of it. I don't know why. I just like having a physical copy of it. Besides, I rip them onto my computer anyways, so I get the convenience as well. :D Also, the thing about me is I listen to a lot of prog, which means a lot of conceptual albums with tracks tied together. And if I have a CD, there'll be no break between tracks, but if I use digital files, there'll be a minor break. Not much, but enough to prevent the album from seeming seamless. Which annoys me, a lot.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil LPs and CDs are more satisfying to use than audiofiles. Audiofiles are almoast alwase compressed and as a result sound quality suffers. I only download music when I can't find the album in stores or ebay

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil

Audiofiles are almoast alwase compressed and as a result sound quality suffers.
Not really. It depends on the format. Quite a few people avoid MP3s all together. Of course, this depends on if you're educated on the subject or not (meaning knowing what to use). MP3 = compression Lossless/FLAC = compression, but with no loss of audio data. This is exactly what you have on the CD sound quality wise, but saves you a bit of space. WAV/AIFF = Exactly what is on the CD. Quite a large file. Then there's even higher resolution files, not to mention other formats.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil

In my opinion' date=' both is okay, as long as you pay for it. If it goes to piracy, NO, just no. I really hate piracy.[/quote'] Agreed completely.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil My Car CD Player is old, cannot play mp3 digital crap, so, I love buy my CDs. :D the true is, what if you buy a CD and only 1 or 2 songs are good? happens, you know... so digital is good if you want listeng, but you need to keep the final product if you like it. Also the sound in a mp3 is not as good as a wav. Analog? Vinyl?, that's not in the future and obsolete we need to walk with the current technology, but search the best sound.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil My personal way of doing it, is to download the album, then, if I like the album, I go out and buy the physical copy. Generally I think that a Physical copy of an album is generally better, plus there is nothing cooler to look at than a bookcase full of hundreds of CD's. That's my opinion anyway.

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Re: TMA Discussions Part II: Physical Copies vs. Digital Fil For me, it's more or less a matter of course that I still buy music from local stores that carry the album I'm interested in. However, I am all for downloading OOP and hard to find albums, I don't think anyone here wants to shell 250 dollars for older Running Wild or Septic flesh classics. As for downloading more widely available titles I personally am neutral on the subject, cds are falling out of favor and I don't personally see their recovery ever meaning much to the wider musical community at large.

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I would say i'm more for Digital copies for all production&environmental reasons. I just don't like to own a lot of things, I'm some sort of a minimalist. I'm not a fan of plastic things and I don't really like having too many of them. I admit I like how the "cd libraries" look, but only when it's in someone else's house. It's a bizarre feeling, but I feel that if I don't have a lot of things life seems simpler.I buy a physical CD only when there's something special about it, like a cover I enjoy a lot, or if I stumble on it in a store and think it's a call of destiny for me to have that thing!

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I predominantly download music. I miss the days of endless hours in the record shop searching for stuff though. I would still prefer to have the physical product in my hand as I never feel like I have bought something otherwise. I do still buy CDs if it is cheaper than the download and I do get a lot of second hand CDs from the likes of That's Entertainment. I recently joined Ebay and you can get a lot of (new) CDs for a few quid which is pleasing.

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I prefer a physical copy to a digital version however the selection in my local record store is very poor and so I tend to have more downloads then physical copies however I still convert all my digital files to physical copies
I do the same to get copies for the car plus they make for back ups (even though I have various cloud storage set up for this purpose). I tend to get most CDs second hand - here in England we have Thats Entertainment and Cex where you can pick up second hand (and some new) CDs, DVDs, games, etc for around 60% to 70% of the main retailer price. Takes a bit of searching in these places to fight your way past Slipknot and Paramore albums to get to the gems but it is as near to shopping in the old record stores as I get nowadays.

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