Digitizing thousands of CDs

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A customer who was buying some compact discs the other day told me he was halfway along in digitizing his four thousand CD collection. Imagine taking the time to convert two thousand CDs to MP3.

Long ago I noticed a book that a friend who was planning to become an art historian had on her shelves. The title was something like the Dematerialization of the Art Object. The web is causing retails space to diminish if not outright dematerialize. I think Amazon hit music retailers worse than new bookshops. Couldn't care to defend that, nor am I sure that I'm right. My own music buying is so far from the mainstream I can't gauge the effect of Best Buy, Circuit City or the dreaded Wal-Martians on CD retailing.

More of us are buying online. Even though I've had a used bookshop for twenty years I was buying books online for at least a year before we took Books Do Furnish A Room to the web.

iPods and their ilk move the removal of music from retail space another step. Not that it is for me. I have about three thousand compact discs myself. Many of them compilations of pre-LP music put together by kindly foreigners or American companies with few if any rights to pay: an hour or more of music on each disc.

Sitting in their seven-foot tall shelves many are easily forgotten for years at a time. Sometimes one will catch the corner of my vision and I'll rediscover a singer or album that gives me great pleasure. If my music collection were reduced to hundreds of screens how much would be forgotten even if I could call any of it up even with the click or two.

Sometimes three-dimensional meat space is best.

My customer is technically savvy enough to replicate his dematerialized music across two hard drives. But if his house burns down what value will his insurance place on the music he's lost?

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Digitizing thousands of CDs
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