Saying Goodbye to My CD Collection

I start­ed pack­ing up my remain­ing CDs last night. I’ve final­ly real­ized that no mat­ter how often I tell myself that I’ll rip them to a dri­ve, or that I’ll fall in love with the medi­um all over again, they will only col­lect dust in a dark cor­ner of my house. Don’t believe me? Look how many times I’ve lied to myself about it!

I’m rid­ding myself of a col­lec­tion I’ve built over 20 years. With a lit­tle effort, I could turn the entire thing into a Spo­ti­fy playlist in about an hour. It’s hard not to feel defeat­ed. How often did I spend mon­ey bet­ter spent on food or clothes on music that I bare­ly heard? I’m still find­ing unopened CDs with receipts that are a decade old. Now I’ll sell them for pen­nies on the dol­lar and be glad.

I’m doing my best to not be sen­ti­men­tal about it, but it’s brought back mem­o­ries of trips to record stores around the world. My R.E.M. CDs have been with me since I lugged them to Den­mark as a 17 year old! I can still remem­ber how much I cher­ished the 40-odd albums I took on exchange. I remem­ber when my col­lec­tion bal­looned to 120 care­ful­ly curat­ed discs in grad school. I spent time man­i­cur­ing it, trad­ing in to trade up, bud­get­ing as best I could to have a col­lec­tion my peers would respect. It grew to near­ly 1500 discs when I moth­balled it in the walk-in clos­et. Now as I pack it up and pre­pare myself to sell it all, I shake my head with every obscure disc I find encased in shrink wrap.

If you or some­one you know would like to own a music col­lec­tion that imme­di­ate­ly makes it seem like you came of age in the ’90s, you might want to stop by AKA Music in the next cou­ple weeks. It’s only fit­ting that I take them back to the place where I spent so much time and mon­ey on the music I’ve loved most.


  1. Dur­ing this last move I gave hun­dreds of 80s CDs to Good­will. I’ve dig­i­tized every­thing and real­ized I was nev­er going to lis­ten to them. Now some­one else can lis­ten to my cov­et­ed Lisa Stan­field, Wham and Bob­by Brown albums. 🙂 con­grats on going all digital!

  2. Thx Jeor­dan! I still have some vinyl that I love, but I would­n’t be a for­mer rock crit­ic with­out it. What amazes me is how much music I used to buy annu­al­ly that now gets cov­ered for $10 a month! My life improved once I got over need­ing to own music and video.

  3. A few years ago I got rid of all the CD cas­es and just kept the discs. It was remark­able how much space that saved. Then those CDs went into box­es. Those box­es are in a clos­et. Haven’t come out in two years.

  4. Don’t know if I respond­ed to you, John, but I took them a cou­ple months ago. Did great with the first batch. Sec­ond batch, prob­a­bly got low­balled. That said, I’m glad I don’t have them in box­es some­where in the house doing noth­ing but tak­ing up space.

  5. Right, Andrew? I got tan­gled up with a comics crit­ic recent­ly about col­lect­ing (hoard­ing, real­ly) phys­i­cal media. I’m still guilty when it comes to books and to a less­er extent DVDs, but when I look at my house now I won­der where the book­cas­es would go. They were a fact of life the whole time I was grow­ing up! Now those book­cas­es are hid­ing out in the basement.

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