Opinion: Buying CDs unnecessary


Buying CDs is unnecessary in a world where we have a world of music in our pocket at all times.
Graphic by Kearstin Cantrell


Though compact discs were once a cutting-edge product, in 2017, we have better ways to listen to music.  

Neither vintage nor modern, CDs are a technology stuck in puberty between the authenticity of records and the convenience of digitally downloaded music.  

Some still encourage CD use because they believe in listening to a full album. But the truth is that this is neither exclusive to nor exclusively encouraged by CDs.  

On Google Play or Apple Music, it’s often cheaper to buy a full album rather than each song individually, even if it turns out that a couple songs are disappointing. Especially if it’s on sale, or if the buyer has great confidence in the artist, it still makes sense to download the full album.  

Not only that, but obviously the consumer has no need to buy or listen to certain songs if they don’t want the full album.  

Online music provides greater freedom and accessibility than the outdated CD.  

A stack of CDs containing 600 songs would be more than a foot and a half tall, but modern tech allows us to carry this in our pocket. And how much of the cost of that stack would be spent on songs that were only bought because they were on the album?

Digital downloads give consumers the liberty to spend their money on music in the best way possible. At the same time, it doesn’t lead to homogeneous enclosed echo chambers the way the choice provided by the internet does in other situations.  

Instead, it permits a more diverse playlist. Where CDs force listeners to buy 12 songs from the same artist, digital downloads allow the freedom to choose to buy only one song from that album and several others from an eclectic mix of other artists.  

Of course, there are some who have better access to CDs than online music, and though there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t make it a superior technology. However, I’m not someone who’s in favor of new tech just for the sake of it. Why should we chase new innovations whose only purpose is to obsolete their predecessors?

But at the end of the day, an invention should not be rejected simply because of backward nostalgia when it can provide such clear and present advantages as today’s music technology does.

For an opposing viewpoint on the issue, read “Opinion: Not buying CDs a missed opportunity.”