Rant: Why I still buy physical albums

AND why I refuse to make the shift to buying MP3s from iTunes or other online stores.

Musically I'm what you'd call a purist - I know how to make music, I know how to listen to it, my opinions on music are centered around the music itself and not image or everything else the pop music industry focuses way too much on and I was raised listening to high quality music as in music from CDs and with file sizes of around 100+ MB for 4 minutes.

I was raised a purist because my dad's one as well - these are the values he didn't outright tell me but he did things that pointed me into the direction of figuring these things out. He's a record producer so he taught me all these things in recording and one of them was the difference between an MP3 and an AIFF or a WAV file.

I was never trained to listen to MP3s or bad quality songs - I was raised to favor extremely high quality file formats and marginalize MP3s because honestly, it really does make a difference. If I lived in a country where they sold physical formats of all the music I wanted I'd buy all the albums regardless of how much it would cost me because of the quality.

Everything sounds clearer, better when you hear it in CD quality - even with crappy earphones like mine I spot the difference. The songs sound fuller so you can clearly discern how much of the songs are real instruments, how much are computerized and how much auto-tune the vocals were put through.

This is exactly the reason why I refuse to let physical CDs die because the quality will never be the same. Call me ancient for sticking with CDs in the digital age but unless they start selling AIFFs online I won't buy digital music - it's not the same. I don't know how I thought of it but you know, MP3s are a way for record companies to mask bad production, excessive use of fake musical instruments and even more auto-tuning. AIFFs let you hear everything as long as you're listening while MP3s are so highly compressed that you struggle to hear anything, really.

MP3s are the reason why hardly anyone thinks when they listen to songs anymore - there are so many things that get lost during conversion and once those recordings come out as MP3s the only thing people hear is the melody and the instrumentation highly compressed to the point of crap-y-ness. No one thinks anymore because there's nothing to think about, it's all gone.

I hate that. I don't want generations after mine to not think when they listen to music, I don't want them to passively listen to music and I REALLY don't want them to grow up ignorant of what actual songs sound like. I now know exactly how hard my dad had to fight to let me hear recordings in their purest and how he's fighting now to keep high quality recordings in people's vocabularies.

As much as I want the music industry to move forward, you cannot sacrifice quality for change. This is creativity we're talking about, these are works of people and they deserve to be heard in their most unadulterated form. Until they find a way of digitally selling the good quality files, I'm staying with my physical CDs.


  1. Your such a brilliant blogger (I'm not sucking up, I promise) seriously! I still buy physical CDs too (although I will admit I buy most singles and albums are too expensive in stores on iTunes) I agree with everything apart from "MP3s are the reason why hardly anyone thinks when they listen to songs anymore" -- I do a lot of that. But yeah, strong opinions makes such a brilliant read.

  2. Hahah, thanks!

    Not bloggers, obviously but my a lot of classmates don't think anymore when they listen to music and they don't have their own tastes - they just get what's popular. Hahah.

  3. What about Analog? Wouldn't that be even better in quality than say digital? Then again you do have the problems with noise when recording Analog, so maybe that would be a problem.

    I always find it hard to get some sounds in physical form, thus have to get MP3 etc. It's much easier to get some of the songs.

  4. Yeah, there's a lot of external noise when you deal with analog. Digital is still my preference.

    It's easier to get a hold of MP3s yes, especially because I live in the Philippines and they sell nothing in record stores but I wouldn't entirely give up on buying the physical CDs just because the record stores here don't know who the crap I'm buying.

  5. interesting points and well argued. I think there is a purity about cds, but I think (personally for me) a high quality mp3 is equally beneficial. I know mp3s vary wildly in quality and that's annoying but i'm open to the higher quality to match the cd collection.


Want to share any of your thoughts on the above post? Drop a comment here! I read all comments and reply occasionally, especially if you have specific questions for me. :D

Note that comments are moderated. Spam, self-advertising (K-Pop-related and otherwise) and overly vulgar submissions will NOT be accepted. If you want me to promote/endorse/follow/link to your site, please e-mail me at popreviewsnow@gmail.com instead.


Recent Tweets

Like Pop Reviews Now on Facebook!

Statistics (Since May 2009)

Music - Top Blogs Philippines Follow on Bloglovin

Blog Archive

You're reading an award-winning blog

The K-Pop Writers' Workshop

A workshop for writers of critical pieces on Korean entertainment -- formal reviews, expository essays/Op-eds, and personal essays/Creative Non-Fiction.
Learn from the best in K-Ent writing