In defence of the humble CD

In a world full of streaming and digital downloads, it seems that many people are forgetting the dying art of the humble CD. As 90’s kid who grew up listening to Disney compilations on cassette tapes, I find it hard to accept that music isn’t physical any more. I know, I probably sound like one of those middle-aged people who complain that it wasn’t like this ‘back in the day’, but I hope I can convince you that although there’s nothing wrong with downloading music, CD’s don’t deserve to go extinct.

• Let’s get physical

For me, there’s just something so satisfying about holding a physical CD in your hands. I’m the same with books; I prefer reading the words printed on a page as they were intended to be rather than glaring at me from a screen. CD’s look pretty too, and although not everyone even has a CD player nowadays, I still can’t get used to the fact that music can just kind of float around in the air now rather than being on a disk. Perhaps it’s just the generation I’m part of, but just look at the recent re-popularity of vinyls and record players. Maybe in 10 years’ time everyone will suddenly go crazy for CD’s again because they’re ‘indie’ and ‘vintage’.

• There’s nothing like that first play

As a kid, there was literally nothing that got me more excited than opening my brand new CD for the first time and the anticipation of putting it into my little stereo not knowing what musical delights lay before me. Even now I still get that same rush of excitement when I press play on a CD I’ve just bought. Maybe it’s just become a tradition for me, but music has always been a huge part of my life and sitting down to listen to brand new music from my favourite artists makes me extremely happy.

• Good old nostalgia

Yes, most of my unwillingness to let go of CDs is probably because of the memories attached to them for me. Every time I got a new CD I would sit cross-legged on my bed, get the lyric booklet out of the case and try to learn the words as I listened along. I just found it so exciting discovering brand new songs, picking out my instant favourites, letting the lyrics become engrained in my brain so much that (little to my knowledge back then) I would still remember them 10 years later. The lyrics have always been and still are the thing that draws me into songs and captivates me, maybe it’s because I’m a writer myself that the way words can be combined to convey different perspectives and meanings fascinates me. Fair enough, on most streaming sites you can see the lyrics appear on the screen if you want to sing along, but there’s something so satisfying for me seeing the printed lyrics of a song written down in a song booklet – I suppose it’s almost like a poem, you get a full sense of the song and its meaning. I know, this has got so deep, but music is about so much more than just noise and a few repetitive lyrics for me.

• A whole album

With the rise of streaming sites and digital downloads, most people don’t listen to albums in full any more, all the way through. You can pick and choose which songs you want to listen to, which is a really good thing if you want to find a certain song quickly or put together a banging party playlist, but I believe that albums also need to be appreciated as a collection as they are intended to be. I love albums that tell a story, and I love the experience of putting on an album and listening to it from start to finish, soaking in all the songs in the order they were intended to be listened to. Obviously artists choose the track list for the album, and certain ones such as Bastille and The 1975 always seem to follow a theme and tell a story so well that listening to songs out of the context of the entire album doesn’t let them live up to their full potential.

Well, there you have it. Just a few simple reasons why I’m not ready to let go of CDs any time soon, if ever. I hope I haven’t come across too ranty or old-fashioned! Don’t get me wrong, I love things like Spotify and amazon prime for streaming music and compiling playlists, but with the increased popularity of ‘invisible’ music as I like to call it, I just don’t think we should forget CDs either. I don’t see why streaming, downloads and CDs can’t live together in perfect harmony, and I hope this will be the case in the foreseeable future.

Where do you stand on the CDs vs downloads debate? Do you still buy CDs or do you stream and download all your music? I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic in the comments!

As always thank you so much for reading, x

P.S. in my last post I talked about how I had just been rejected from my dream course in London. However, yesterday I got an unconditional offer from Nottingham Trent University to study the same course and I accepted the offer! That means I’m going to study Magazine Journalism there in September and I cannot wait! Just a little reminder that just because something doesn’t work out, doesn’t mean you should give up. Something equally amazing, if not better, could be just around the corner.


  1. While downloading music is great for on the go, I have to agree that CDs are the best. A lot of my CDs have memories with them, like the Josh Groban cd I bought at the concert my dad took me to on my sixteenth birthday, and the Celtic Women one for the concert we set front row at. There will never be a replacement for things like that.
    A Sparkle Of Grace

    1. That's so true! There's such a sentimental value in CDs for me like you said. Thank you for reading and your comment, I appreciate it so much x


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