Skip to main content

Buy online, or buy CDs.... Simple choice?

I fought it as long as I could. Yeah, the practice is becoming outdated, and has threatened to become extinct for a few years now. I still enjoy going to a "record store" and purchasing CDs. There's something about looking through the racks of discs on display and finding treasures, both new and old. I can still spend a couple hours in one of the few remaining large CD stores in the area with no problem.

The transition from physical media to digital is more traumatic to us OGs. Going from vinyl to CD was easy. You still had a tangible product in your hands. This is much tougher. About 7 years ago, I transitioned my DJ rig from CDs to my laptop. My entire library was on a hard drive. The convenience was incredible. I could search for a song within seconds. I could switch songs within 8 seconds if necessary. Still, it didn't feel right. It wasn't organic enough. With vinyl or CDs, ideas for programming the next few tracks would come from fanning through the collection. I would change the entire direction of the set based on an album or CD cover. Looking through the database for songs just didn't have the same feel, and to be honest, the process wasn't as much fun.

I recently did a major purchase of recent Jazz releases to bring my library up to date. I hate this phrase, but, given the current economic conditions, I did this all online. I got all the music I wanted, I spent a fraction of what I would've spent, and the convenience was incredible. However, as I started listening to the new acquisitions, something major was missing.

By no more than the third new track I realized what is was. Long established habit and built-in reflex behavior caused me to reach for something that wasn't there; the liner notes. How was I going to see who was on the track, who wrote the track, who arranged the track, and all those other details of major significance to all serious jazz fans. I was devastated. Okay, not completely, but this was going to cause me a lot more work. In order to get the information I sought, I was going to have to go to the website for the artist and hope somebody put the notes there. Worst case, if it was really that important, I may have to go buy the CD!

Industry pundits keep warning of the "death of CDs" based on sales numbers. If you look at the numbers for Hip Hop, Pop, and Rock, the decline in purchase rates are staggering. However, if you look at the numbers for Jazz, Latin, World, and Blues, you'll find the sales numbers are either flat or increasing. The fact that purchasers of those genres are more prone to want liner notes. Why? Those fans are forever trying to learn more about the music. Jazz in particular is more than something to listen to. The music is emotional and those fans feel those emotions. They also have an interest in the members of the featured artist's band. Those musicians may have music worth investigating. Yes, it goes deep with us.

I had to try it, and now i have. Will I do it again? I'm not sure. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the catalog for the company I bought my CD storage units from. I'm going to need another one.


Popular posts from this blog

66th Monterey Jazz Festival - Part 2, New Discoveries

Festivals offer the opportunity to see a variety of artists, within a short period of time, and frequently at the same venue. The Monterey Jazz Festival is one of that presents a well crafted mix ranging from established legends of the music to local fan favorites. Each year I especially look forward to hearing emerging artists that have either been part of groups or recordings from headliners and legends, composing and producing for other artists, part of a collective of artists involved with a variety of collaborations, or, stepping out on their own as a leader. The artist list for the 66th Monterey Jazz Festival is filled with artists I'm very familiar with and plan to hear their latest work. It also contains quite a few I've either heard on other artist's recordings, read about a number of times, heard their current recordings, or are just plain curious about. I know the pattern well. These artists that are less familiar to the festival audience at large frequently find

Jazz 500 - An Overdue Personal Project

Hello again. First, I must apologize for being away for so long. I wish I had more of an excuse to give you, but the fact is, sometimes life just gets in the way. In any case, I’m back just in time for the heart of the festival season. Next up for me is the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. We have our tickets in hand, and can’t wait for this, the 61st edition, of the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world. In the meantime, if you’ve followed my Instagram feed in the past, you may have noticed quite a bit more activity than normal. I usually post images live from the festival, and hope to be doing that again this year. In addition, I’ve started a series I’m referring to as Jazz 500 (#jazz500). My Jazz Photojournalism adventure began in 1995. A year later, I covered my first Monterey Jazz Festival. Since then, I’ve covered it every year except 1997 and 1998. As you can imagine, after 20 years of photographing some of the greatest legends of the musi

Essential Tracks: "African Skies", Album: "Tales From The Hudson", Michael Brecker, 1996

Essential tracks highlights tracks that arguably should be found somewhere in any serious jazz collector's library. This segment is also meant to inspire readers to seek out foundational tracks from the various sub-genres of this great music. "African Skies" from the Impulse Record release "Tales from the Hudson", 1996 You'd be hard pressed to find a track from Michael Brecker that wouldn't be considered an essential track. This release came after a year hiatus in recordings from Brecker, and was the beginning of a phenomenal run of outstanding recordings. Already an established, though probably under-appreciated giant of the saxophone, this released caused the jazz world to collectively take notice. Personnel on "African Skies" besides Brecker: Pat Metheny on guitar, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Dave Holland on bass, MyCoy Tyner on piano, and Don Alias on percussion. #Jazz