Compact Discs - keep them or ditch them

I’m curious to hear thoughts on hanging on to music CDs. I am currently trying to get rid of a lot of things just cluttering up the place. Fortunately, I did hang onto most of my vinyl from years ago and am glad I did since it has made a comeback. I bought a new turntable a few years ago and am able to enjoy them after several years of having them in a closet.

I’ve been donating a lot of books and clothing and now I’ve reached the boxes with a couple hundred CDs. I actually have a CD player, though it hasn’t been hooked up in at least 10 years. Pretty much any of this music I would want is available on iTunes or Spotify or wherever. Or I’ve downloaded a lot of it to my iPhone and can play it that way.

My question is, before I try to sell them, what is the likelihood they will see a comeback along the lines of how vinyl? I don’t have any of the 8-track tapes from my youth and don’t see anyone clamoring to collect them, primarily because the tech is lousy. Is it likely CDs are/will be just as obsolete? Or is there any other reason I’m missing why I should hang onto them?

Of course they will come back due to nostalgia. Whether that makes them worth keeping is.
your call.

I doubt CDs will ever come back to any real popularity. They are better technology than 8-tracks or vinyl but they are, for all practical purposes, much worse then MP3s and streaming. I never would have predicted the enduring popularity of vinyl so I’m probably the wrong guy to listen to but I don’t think CDs are worth hanging onto unless you listen to them with some regularity. In a few weeks, I will be getting rid of my last car with a CD player and I’m not sure what use my CDs will be after that.

I ripped all of our CDs to a portable hard drive, put the disks in a media storage binder, and tossed the cases. We occasionally pull out one of the CDs but mainly just put the music on our phones from the hard drive. Someday we’ll toss the binder.

My bias is towards archiving if possible (space considerations sometimes take precedence). Throwing away the original is not my first choice; not only is the art work lost, but many conversions are less-than-perfect. For example, MP3 files are lossy, and discard data that cannot be recovered.

For the few times I have discarded material, I have regretted it. For example, I threw out 10 years of original lead sheets I created during the 1970’s, some of which was for major composers, songwriters, and recording artists. At the time, I could not see the reason to devote the space to what was obviously outdated and obsolete. I was wrong.

Certainly as a practical matter, it may not matter to a casual music consumer; to me, as an archivist and musician, they are highly important. And while most commercial music exists in so many copies that one collection isn’t significant, my personal collection includes some priceless, unreproducible items. YMMV.

So I urge you to keep the original disks if at all practical and possible. If not, consider donating to an archivist.

I pretty much agree with Musicat (above). CD’s have never gone away. No more than vinyl had gone away to those that enjoyed them pre-CD and still enjoy them. There’s a place for both, depending on personal preference.
Sound quality of each is reliant on many factors, not the least of which is how they are pressed (CD & vinyl), the original engineering, quality of the vinyl or CD surface & so on.
But probably the main factor for purpose of this conversation is the playback equipment. One can sink thousands into a decent stereo setup. If that’s you, then you may notice a difference comparing the identical recording side by side, Vinyl vs CD. Which wins out depends a lot on the pressing of each, and the listeners ears.
However if as Musicat suggests, you’re only a casual listener, like background music or something to drown out the sound of the your tires on the pavement, by all means load up a drive with MP3’s. It’s a lossy format but at 320 Kbs on a box store system you won’t notice the degradation.

I keep all mine. In case I need to rerip it, there it is. Not only that, I still buy them.

I also own a hi-fi* 8-track deck.

*for varying degrees of “high”. And “fi”.

I have some CDs with music unavailable by streaming in the US. Mainly Asian imports. I will definitely keep those.

But will this remain true in perpetuity? I can imagine about half a dozen scenarios that would result in music being unavailable on streaming services, though I have no idea how likely any of them are.

I am in the same boat. I am in de-clutter mode and I give my 600 or so CDs the side-eye whenever I am near them.

I did retain my thousand-plus vinyl lps from my youth, and I am very glad that I did.

The CDs have zero nostalgia grasp on me, whereas the LPs absolutely do.

My question at this time is how/where to get rid of them.


We probably had 100 to 150 music CDs but no player in the house or in our newer cars. So, we either had to get a player or get rid of them.
We sent them all to Goodwill.

I tossed all mine long time ago (10+ years). If you’re worried about quality, rip 'em as WAVs. True, I may miss the artwork, but I can get everything I ever had streamed on Apple Music in lossless quality (there’s a way to select it in the settings) and I don’t have to deal with all the stupid boxes. Hell, there’s a CD I played on that I don’t even seem to have the original physical product for, but I can queue up with Apple Music. (Plus I have it on a hard drive, of course.) I hate CDs. I think I may have one CD player on an old laptop somewhere in the house. I wouldn’t trash vinyls, though. I have three vinyls that I’ve never even played (as I’ve never owned a phonograph) but that I like for the large artwork and nostalgia. I have no nostalgia for CDs. I sincerely doubt they will make a comeback, but who knows. Cassette tapes were (and maybe even still are) popular with a very niche crowd, which I don’t get at all.

CDs are pretty much my preferred music media. One reason we bought our particular car (Subaru Forester) last year was because it had a CD player. My wife’s car also has one. And we have probably 3-4 CD players around the house. I far prefer them to messing around with my phone.

So we’ll hang onto our CDs until both cars and all of our stereos crap out.

I own ~500 CDs (and a similar number of LPs), and I probably always will. I know they take up a ton of space, and that I can hear nearly all of the same music online, but there’s something about owning a discrete chunk of music that I just find more satisfying than streaming it. I literally feel more invested in it, since it represents an investment of time, decision-making and money.

Plus, I like it when visitors come over and see my shelves and ask if they can pick something!

I ripped mine (had several hundred) and ditched them. I do occasionally listen to something from that collection, but for the most part, I’m on Spotify. I like listening to new music and I continue to have new albums waiting for me to obsessively listen to over and over (I’m a whole album listener).

I’m currently stuck on Jack While’s Fear of the Dawn (wasn’t a fan for a couple listens but then it grew on me) and very much stuck on the new Built to Spill: When the Wind Forgets Your Name. What a fantastic album! There are others in the mix like the new Spoon, KGLW, as well as a not quite as new album by Coriky (Ian MacKaye) which I missed when it came out. Along with a bunch of others :slight_smile:

Keep them until you have to move house or something (if you really, really already wanted to get rid of them, why ask?) Then you will have a decision to make (if you have hundreds of them)

Depends on one’s taste in music:) You can always rip them yourself, though, relatively easy with digital formats versus something like vinyl where you need (or want!) an absurdly expensive turntable and ADC and software to clean up any pops, minuscule speed variations/warping etc

… and I should be. So I’m testing to see if I really need my old stuff. Especially stuff that takes up space (like jewel cases).

So I guess I’ve been living in a decade-long experiment, because my CDs are in boxes in the basement. Do I want to listen to the CD enough to go down and dig it out?

And, it’s a resounding NO.

Just the other day, I was craving a Joni Mitchell album (Wild Things Run Fast), and was too lazy to search for mine.
So I downloaded it from iTunes. $7.99 for the album, and it was already ripped and on my iPhone. I’m picky, but even through some Bluetooth speakers it sounded great!

And I thought “Wow, I’m listening to a classic album 30 seconds later, and if I’d gone for the CD, I’d still be hunting through the basement and then looking for that old optical drive to rip the CD. This was worth $8!”

I’ll let you know when I find the moral strength to get rid of my CDs. And someday, twenty boxes of comics… (naaah, that’s crazy talk).

FLAC if you want to save a bit of space (~50%). Still lossless.

You won’t get anything close to what you paid for them if you sell them. It’s for decluttering.

They were a liked part of lives for twenty years. Sure, they are obsolete. They will gain value in forty years, but not that much.

An old man sits, collecting stamps
In a room all filled with Chinese lamps
He saves what others throw away
He says that he’ll be rich someday

I keep them just to have a backup. I do the same with books. I don’t want someone like Disney buying up a music service I use and deciding to put my favorite music in the ‘vault’ for years like they do with fheir movies. I don’t want to find out that some artist I love has been ‘canceled’ and removed from online sources. I want to own music, not rent it from someone who can take it away at any time.

And after the apocalypse we’ll be mighty hapoy that some people kept hard copies of their information. (-: