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Your thoughts on Physical vs. Digital media?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Kwesi, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Sure there are threads like this all over the internet but I have yet to see one right here on Talkbass so why not start one :D?

    It seems to me that a lot of techies are suggesting that physical media's demise is not only eminent but fast approaching. I just can't seem to get on board with that idea just yet and I don't think I'll be budging anytime soon. No one can deny that the world of digital media is rapidly expanding and quickly usurping areas that used to be completely dominated by discs or other storage devices but I think that there's a limit to what digital downloads can accomplish at this point.

    There still lots of benefits to physical media like letting friends borrow it and general ease of transportation and while ISPs employ monthly download limits I don't see digital media gaining the advantage in those things any time soon.

    Anyway, I want to hear you guys thoughts on the subject (on a forum that I actually visit regularly :)).
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I feel I've been fighting gravity. My girl and I just moved in together. Between us we have hundreds of cds. It blows my mind that music contained in the space those CDs take up (space we'd much rather use for something else) can all fit now on a 2" flash drive. And we just threw out what probably equalled $10,000 in original cost for albums. We're going to start downloading our cds 1 by 1 and sell them off before they're completely obsolete.
  3. Good call. My girl and I like vinyl records because we're smug hipsters. It's more a vanity thing than anything else, though, and we have the majority of our collection on a 1TB external HD.

    Digital media, in addition to being much easier to maintain than a physical collection and cheaper to produce and distribute is also much better for the enviroment, which is important for our generation since we're looking at a world that our forefathers brought to the brink of ruin with their hedonistic materialism.

    If I can help the situation by rocking out to a massive digital collection, than by Christ, I'll bite the bullet and take one for the team.
  4. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I purchase CD's almost exclusively over digital content for five reasons:

    a) Album art and liner notes. Yes, I could probably google any of the information needed, but it's really nice to have it consolidated.

    b) The physical disk is a hard copy. I can always re-upload it to my computer when my computer crashes again with limited loss.

    c) The vehicles that I drive have CD players in them, and I don't feel like dropping dough to upgrade them to USB reading devices. If I want to listen to music in my car, it's either on the radio or on CD.

    d) Tangibility. I don't feel the same sense of ownership unless something's in my hands.

    e) Supporting local music stores. Digital downloads will kill mom and pop record stores even faster than shopping at big box stores.
  5. CDs are both yet they are on the downfall :p

    I remember reading somewhere that vinyl sales have still been increasing over the past few years.

    I do prefer to have a CD or vinyl if I can. I like having a master copy for myself, I like having the art and notes that comes with it, heck, I like having racks of things as opposed to just knowing it's on a harddrive somewhere!
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I started ripping CDs to my PC 12 years ago. I have a stack of Rubbermaid storage bins in a closet holding all my old media.

    These days I either buy used CDs or digital downloads. I have an old PC set up as a media server that I interface via web interface from any PC or phone with web access.

    Here is my active stats right now:
    1,799 artists
    4,340 albums
    46,598 songs

    I know I have a couple gb scattered that need adding to my main share. I am in the process of building a new server with redundant drives so I need won't loose anything in a drive failure.

    As far as local Mom and Pop shops, like Instrument places... there are none worth saving anymore that aren't also web based.
  7. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Other than the lack of liner notes, digital is the way to go.

    Now seriously, I got 160 gb of mp3's and I still buy at the very least one cd per month. CD quality is miles better than iTunes crap and I like to have the CD in my hands.
  9. Sketchy


    Jul 15, 2010
    Bristol, UK
    I love having music in CD form.
    The art and liner notes, I adore looking through. Many fascinated hours have been spent looking through them.
    Sometimes I need to re-load it to computer if the computer copy gets corrupted for some unkown reason.
    Sometimes you see something that you've been told about in record shops and just decide to pick it up, as it jogs your memory. Google search bar doesn't tend to jog your memory in the same way.
    Also, waiting for an album you ordered to arrive is a wonderous experience (well, the waiting is fun/frustrating, but when it arrives it's an amazing feeling of excitement). I love it when I have the album in my hand, and I rush to the computer to load it to the music server drive at home and then play it over the big speakers.
  10. KsToaDangr


    Apr 17, 2007
    Columbia, SC
    there is something about the physical cd/lp that i love owning more than the digital copy. same thing with books and dvds.

    that being said, i've recently converted a small part of my music collection to digital to take to work with me because of convenience of size. the drawback is that my ipod is completely full, and it's only about 1/100 of my collection.
  11. A huge +1 on points A, B and D!
  12. Alucard817


    May 18, 2010
    As a tech myself I don't think physical media will ever be obsolete, or go the way of the Dinosaurs. There are far too many people out there who want to have a physical CD, LP or cassette in their hands, as stated by many people here.

    Me personally I am a pirate from hell. I download all of my music, movies, games (including emulation) software and everything else I can get my hands on. I don't care about album art, having a physical tangible item in my hands, it's content I want.
  13. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Too late around these parts. The only M&P record stores around here are Vinyl shops that are picked clean of anything worth having.

    That leaves the chain stores like Borders, Hastings, and Barnes & Noble, and the big box retailers,...and while not being an expert,...they are somewhat ghost towns when I visit their music section.

    I think digital has been good for artists. Musicians can make their own recordings relatively cheaply and get them on sites that either expose,...or sell the material. The quality of recording may be slipping to the point that audiophiles will cringe,...but sites like Soundcloud have been pretty successful at exposing audiences (however small, but most likely growing) to new music.

    I like the convenience of digital. I can take my entire music library where ever I go so my listening habits aren't limited to what I can fit in say a case logic CD book; or have on hand.

    I've never been able to keep from destroying half the CDs that have made their way to my car. I like that there are no skips with digital.

    I think these are all pretty standard arguments for. CD's take up a lot of space and I prefer a simpler lifestyle.
  14. Word. Man knows what he talks about.
  15. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I believe the original post was referring not only to music CDs, but everything else as well, the impending death of physical media.. apparently.

    Many people say that Blu-Ray will be the last physical format. By the time it is fully integrated and has made DvDs all but obsolete, the rate at which we can send and receive data will have improved to a point where it is much more effective to remove the physical format all together.

    Movies, videogames, instruction manuals, even books potentially.

    Want to watch a movie? Turn on your TV and log in, and all the movies you have purchased are available to watch right now, streaming straight over the internet. Go to a friends house an log in from their TV set, and still access your movie collection. You won't have it stored on an external HDD in your house, it will be stored in some huge server somewhere where anyone who owns that movie can access it at any time. Same with videogames and music.

    Personally I think that physical media will hang around for a while yet, for the same reason that vinyl has stuck around so long.

    Books are another kettle of fish, but it will be interesting to see what happens there.
  16. I am torn between the 2 camps:
    >>I love my book, record and CD collections-prize possessions; digital downloads just don't have the same value to me although these days it's mostly the way I get my music fix. Thank heaven for half price books!
    >>I miss the days of the big record & book stores, I shopped and worked in them for years; but the availability of music on the internet is staggering especially music from the past and around the world. Digital books just don't work for me.
    >>I miss the ceremony of playing music on Lps, ah the lost ritual-- but enjoy having access to so much music on my computer or MP3 player.
    >> Recorded music has become such a common commodity that it has almost become valueless to the general public-- after all it should be free right to poor college kids with their designer clothes, smart phones and laptops, right?
  17. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    A harddrive is as physical to me as a CD...
  18. Exactly, I'm not just talking about how people listen to their music. I want to know what people think about the competition between digital and physical media, how long they think it'll last, if one will ever make the other completely obsolete, etc.

    I don't think that physical media will be anywhere near gone in my lifetime. I can't say whether it'll advance beyond Blu-Ray or not but I'm almost positive it'll be sticking around. The part that's bodled I'm sure will happen sometime but I just wonder when and what limitations will be placed on it whenever it does come around. It seems like digital media as a whole, tries to make sharing (both legal and illegal) really difficult for consumers. DRM is all but gone, thankfully, but there are so many other things standing in the way of sharing things easily.
  19. Disc-wise. I don't know what we'll do beyond Blu-ray. We can optimise it as best we can and will no doubt get more storage from doing that and multi-layering, but we really are reaching a limit when it comes to disc storage in that fashion.

    I wonder if we'll end up with media that is stored on non-rewritable USB drives, SD, Compact Flash etc
  20. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002 Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz CA
    music- some artists i will always buy the cd (beatles, primus, tool, aphex twin, and... hmm... not much else). this is out of loyalty. i can easily pull down 2mb/s on more private music sites (flac files available, so screw itunes and its fidelity issues).

    i also backup 100% of my music, and have for a dozen years. shortly after that someone stole a couple hundred of my cds, and i just got bitter and stopped buy so many cds. i also threw away all my physical cd stuff, as in cases, liners, all of it. this was before i moved one time, and realized i keep all my cds in my car, and the rest is triple backed up on my ipod, a big data hdd, and a second, portable hd. if i lost all that i would just give up on life.

    news- a lot of news on the net is cited from sources and journalists that have the money and commitment to be at the site. sometimes some dude on the internet isnt getting better info than the guy on the front line. i see newspapers declining (i bit more than they already have), but never die completely. pay per content will emerge here.

    movies- netflix, hulu, on demand, torrents: all easy ways to get content streaming or in a hurry (though bluray files are still a little on the large side, and i dont even know what a 3d bluray file would look like... probably huge).

    tv- also hulu and netflix and on demand and torrents. some shows i only catch the next day on one of the above media sources.

    books- im impressed with the kindle detail, and i dig the unique engineering solutions there, but, even though im not a big reader (i like science nerdy non fiction), i still would take a book over a kindle any day.

    environment- i dont think anyone can say digital doesnt at least help a little, so thats a side benefit.

    as a society, weve shown a huge demand for all forms of media, and the music and movie industries have figured out how to make some money, but the news industry needs to get something together soon. theyre dropping like flies.

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