Dear Lifehacker, There has been a growing problem in my life that I have done my best to ignore and avoid for the last 12 months... alas, with a new Macbook Pro and iPhone, it is now un-ignorable. I have about 200 CDs sitting in a storage box complete with much treasured album artwork. All these albums are also in my iTunes library along with all the album art — which displays wonderfully on both my MacBook and iPhone. I also have 10 or albums in digital format which I have been doing my best to avoid building on for the sake of keeping the CD format as the primary collection. Due to the enjoyment of this digital organisation, I wonder if it may finally be time to say goodbye to the continued purchase of albums in CD format. My question: What the heck do I do with 200 CDs which I own (and I cannot sell —due to that ownership) and which are safely stored on iTunes (and backed up on Time Machine)? And should I avoid digital purchases and just find those albums on eBay for relatively the same or a cheaper price ... which kind of rips off the artist doesn't it? Thanks, Gareth
Dear Gareth, There's a human tendency to view life as a series of either/or decisions: my music is all on my computer, so why keep the CDs? Reality is always messier, and allows for multiple choices. They might take up more space than your hard drive, but CDs have several advantages: you can easily play them in all sorts of locations, and you can easily re-rip them without having to reauthorise your PC every time you change (a major pain with digital music). And the artwork generally looks better.
Quite frankly, as someone who owns a lot more than 200 CDs, I can't see storing that number as a major problem. But one solution is to file them in a storage box without the jewel cases, which saves a lot of room. As for your buying dilemma: if you want a whole album, I'd say buy the disc if you can. Save iTunes for singles and one-off track purchases. Of course, all this is only my opinion: if you've got some alternate advice for Gareth, share it in the comments.