Lifestyle, Music

In defense of physical music collections

LIFESTYLE 4.28 (1)
Kacper Bazan / DFP Staff

If you ask me what my favorite song is I’ll spiral out of control. If you ask me for my favorite album or EP I will spiral out of control. Don’t even think about asking me who my favorite singer is, because you already know what I’ll do.

It’s not that I can’t choose one or the other, it’s that I’m worried you won’t get a good picture of who I am as an avid music listener. If you ask me what my favorite song is, ideally I would like to sit you down and make you listen to every Spotify playlist I’ve ever made — and there are many — so I can show you the best of the best. 

The truth is I don’t think I’ll ever have a favorite, and it’s not because I can’t choose, it’s because there might be something better out there. 

My problem with music streaming is the intense overexposure of media that hurts the value of the things we consume. Maybe growing up in the digital age is what made me anti-digital, maybe I’m just one of those “I was born in the wrong decade” people — I promise I’m not — but there is something special about a physical music collection, be it records or CDs.

In many ways, streaming is far superior. It’s instant, it’s easy, it’s cheap. Not only do you need to buy records to listen to records, but you also need a record player and maybe additional speakers. Also all that stuff takes up space, and it seems like a waste when you can have an endless music library on your phone. 

I love that Spotify exposes me to so much great music. I also love that I can listen to all this great music whenever I want for the small price of $4.99, thanks to the Spotify student subscription. But in some ways — while this may sound pretentious — I miss the authenticity of radio, or the excitement of coming home and watching music videos on YouTube in elementary school. It gave the music more value to me. 

If I had a physical music collection, I would be able to have a better representation of my favorite music and my personal style. I would have an enjoyable listening experience by essentially restricting myself from listening to something whenever I want just because it’s on my phone. 

It’s like when a new song from one of your favorite artists drops, and you absolutely love it. But then you end up listening to it over and over again until you cannot stand it anymore — for example, “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles. 

Or I’ll come across an album I love and I’ll have it on repeat while I’m walking to class or shopping for groceries and I’ll listen to it so much that eventually it becomes background noise. 

The worst is when certain songs are relentlessly used in TikTok videos or other social media platforms and you unintentionally hear a song a million times over until you hate it.

There are days when I’m old fashioned, and I want to boycott streaming music, social media and all things digital. Sometimes I want to slow my consumption down and give myself time to absorb the things I truly love.

But most days, I give in to the immediate satisfaction of music streaming. Most days, I acknowledge that I can’t afford a physical collection of everything I consume, be it books, movies, music. Most days I try to just remember to enjoy things as much as I can and be grateful that I can even enjoy them in the first place. 


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