The Importance of Buying Physical Music Formats

Disclaimer: I am not bashing anyone who chooses to buy music only on iTunes or whatever. This is just my way of thinking when it comes to buying music. Mainly people who read my stuff are rockers and metalheads, but non-headbangers are welcome too. Just be respectful and don't shove your hate for heavy music into my face please, or say that its devils work. Thanks :)

The Importance of Buying Physical Music Formats

Sooo... music formats have changed over the many decades. Centuries ago, the only way we could enjoy music is by learning it and playing it. However as time passed, sound was able to be recorded, and formats for hearing those sounds evolved, with records, cassettes, 8-tracks, CDs, etc. Convenience also improved over the years. I know that especially in recent years, convenience has boomed with digital audio files. People are pretty much holding a huge album collection in one phone!

When I was very little, I had a little karaoke machine that came with different cassettes. Really I never did much singing on it, I just wanted to listen to the music. But when I first started really becoming a music lover (around age 12) I had my first mp3, and I went crazy on iTunes, eMusic, etc.. buying the music I loved. A few days before Christmas in 2013, I bought my first CD. What was it? Billy Idol. Go ahead, be surprised. This metalhead can actually enjoy some Billy Idol XD

Anyway, when I bought that CD, I realized something. How there is much more to the musical enjoyment when you buy an actual album. Think about it, anyone who is a diehard music fan (no matter what music genre), you can't have enough. With buying the actual albums, you get more. Depending on what format, such as vinyl or CD, you obviously have kick-ass album art to enjoy (that's why some of my albums are displayed in my room).

You may be lucky to find some that have lyric sheets or the lyrics right in the CD booklet. Some booklets tell about the band and/or album. Or they just come with pictures of the band...

The Importance of Buying Physical Music Formats

The Importance of Buying Physical Music Formats

Some musicians even draw up their own art for the albums, such as the second picture above (White Zombie's "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1").

Shit, sometimes you may even be lucky to get a poster too! Sometimes CD booklets can unfold into small posters. For sure, box sets can include that too. There are many types of box sets that can include just vinyl, CD, cassette, or a combination of 2 or all. I'm already working on getting metallica's Master of Puppets deluxe box set, and it includes all those formats AND cards with codes for buying digital formats.

But diehard music lovers surely want to support their bands, right?

The sucky thing about digital formats is that a lot of people easily abuse that power, sometimes without even realizing it! I mean from the start of it all (pretty much), there was the Metallica vs. Napster thing in 2000, due to people sharing copyrighted music. Metallica haters tend to think that the band filed the lawsuit because they are always money-hungry. Face it, any band probably would have done the same thing, no matter how much money they already got. Copyright infringement is illegal.. duh. I'm sure now I'll get a mouthful from opinion owners here after mentioning Napster.

Anyway, its surely not 2000 anymore but there are still people who end up illegally downloading music, not thinking much about how bad it is to do over time. And really with websites like iTunes, yeah, you do pay for music. But sometimes people don't buy whole albums. It is convenient when you can purchase the few songs you do like from a more sucky type album, but in a way it can still hurt a musician financially and critically.

I've talked to fellow musicians before who have put out albums of their own into the music world. I've gotten opinions about the digital age that are all pretty similar. I had one guy once tell me about how starting off in a new band, the digital stuff doesn't help so much. Newborn bands do try to make themselves known through selling the music, playing at shows, and being on social media. But it is still a pretty difficult thing. Joan Jett (member of The Runaways and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts) told how with the second band, they started off selling their records in the back of their producer's car. They couldn't get on a major label, so they had to fend for themselves. And no she never told me that, I heard it on an interview :)

Plus, musicians do go through the trouble of adding art and what not to their albums for the buyer to enjoy. Whenever you buy an actual album, money goes to them. Since I was 13 my album collection grew pretty big. Recently with the addition of 2 more albums to a collection of around 40. I got some vinyl too, all that dad gave me from his MASSIVE collection (I'll be buying some more soon). Most he gave me are original pressings. Probably the least favorite format for me, personally, are cassettes. They aren't that bad, but I remember when I had mine, the tape would at times get eaten up in the player. And I don't know, they just seem a little less fun to me. I actually enjoy seeing that record or CD spin (yes my CD player has a clear CD lid) and knowing that the music is coming from it. Usually when I go out I have all the music on my phone for listening in the car or whatever. That part I enjoy about digital.

The Importance of Buying Physical Music Formats

What is kind of sad to me is how I've noticed that record stores are closing, and music sections in stores are getting smaller. In some Best Buy and Target stores around me, the CDs only take up half an aisle, when before it was like 2 aisle (like how Walmart still is). However there is still a little hope. Luckily I'm not the only teen around who loves and respects analog!


So really, I'm not telling you all to stop buying from iTunes and whatever. The purpose of all this was to show how important the actual albums really are. Though sometimes CDs, records, etc. can be more expensive, its actually feels good to me, good knowing that I'm supporting a band that I love. I'm even thinking of my first job being at a record store. Show your love and support the bands you enjoy \m/


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Most Helpful Guy

  • As an old fart I totally agree. I used to have a vinyl collection. Not big compared to some people's collection, but big enough, somewhere around 500-600 albums. I sold them off at one time. I don't remember when or why.

    Now I have around 400 CDs. I listen to them also, and try to occasionally cycle through the ones I haven't heard in a while. I also regularly get CDs from the library, usually 5-10 per month.

    Some of the best music out there are the "unknown" tracks from albums. A good album should have at least 5-6 good songs. The rare album will have all good songs.

    A combination of people buying downloaded digital singles, and pirated copies makes it hard for modern musicians to make a living. I've heard a number of old timer musicians say this in interviews. They say touring is the only way to make money now. It used to be that touring was to promote album sales. Now it's the main money maker in itself.

    As for album art, posters, etc, vinyl albums were sooo much better for that just because of their size. You can barely even see cover art on CDs because it's just too small. Then there were neat things like the "stash box" that came with Jefferson Airplane's Long John Silver album. I had one of those and used it to store, um, stuff.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I agree. While I love that it's so easy to have music right at your fingertips, having the physical copy of an album is still the best. The CD booklets used to be the best. You never knew if you were going to get lyrics, or a cool poster or just learn more about the artist. Growing up, my mom was apart of of one of those CD clubs where they would send her a magazine with hundreds of choices to choose for.99 cents. She would let my sisters and I pick out a few each month. My very first CD I owned was a Ricky Martin CD that complete in Spanish! I couldn't understand a word of it at the time, but I learned every song.

    I would stand in line on release day for Nsync and Backstreet Boys. Nostalgia. I feel the same way about physical copies of books.

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    • awesome XD I'm the same with books as well. sheesh, 99 cents, lucky lol. lowest price I've paid for a CD was $2.00 at a thrift store lol

    • Yeah, this was back when I was a couple years younger than you lol. I feel so old saying that. But yeah, again the convenience of having books and music right at your fingertips is a plus. But nothing will replace new book smell.

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What Guys Said 43

  • Another great take!

    The music world is changing. Some of it for the better but some of it will be bad.
    On one hand we are seeing the death of the concept album. Now people only buy one song they like and not being exposed to the other songs on the album -you will never grow to love music you were relatively unfamiliar with or maybe didn’t get grabbed at first by. This stifles personal musical development in a listener.
    On the other hand bands can cut out much of the ‘industry’ which takes the lion’s share of profits from musicians.
    Then again you don’t have a juggernaut of marketing and distribution, forced radio play and the advertising that ‘industry’ provides that can make bands famous.
    On one hand I can have all the music I want. On the other with so much, I don’t appreciate what I have as much.
    Also there is no such thing as rarity anymore. I remember the excitement of finding an album I’d never heard of, and being the only one around to have it. If it exists you can now find it easily.
    On the other hand some lonely shlubb like me can write a song and some guy and Zimbabwe can find it and like it. No ‘capital records’ to rob me of my profits and stifle my expression with a contract involved.

    It’s an interesting time and much like when the phonograph was invented, it will change the landscape of music tremendously. Hopefully it will work out and produce something great, but I fear it changing our appreciation of music to something more flakey due to our consumer-to-trash mentality soured by runaway capitalism.

    But you give me hope. By people like you really appreciating music, format and artistry and not just quick thrill and passing fancy, you will help keep it alive.

    I applied you for your passion and strength to not just follow the crowd.

    Keep up the great work and keep strumming!

    Up the irons! 🤘

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    • * applaud

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    • A side story: my daughter is 10. She loves all types of music like dad. And loves Iron Maiden. I have a killers blanket she loves to use on her bed. Eddie protects her from monsters in her sleep.
      You should have seen how excited she was when for her birthday I found a killers shirt in her size. All the kids in grade 5 thinks she is so cool wearing it. Gets compliments all the time. Then I found a Number of the Beast shirt for Christmas. She jumped up and down for 10 min!! Her French language class teacher complimented it today.
      When I was in grade 6 I was forced by my French teacher to leave my jacket outside the class because I had a 2 minutes to midnight backpatch on it. Apparently it was so terrible and threatening, that the garment itself couldn’t even be in the room. Lol. 🤘

    • lolz XD I hope that by the time I am a mother I have a kid like yours lol it honestly sounds like myself when I was younger. I remember going to the playground a lot, sporting my black AC/DC shirt (still have it). I do get a lot of good comments about my band shirts but I was surprised once when I walked into Hobby Lobby with a satanic looking Anthrax shirt, since the place is very Christian oriented. I was paying for something, and the guy at the counter was really shy, but then in a low voice said "love the Anthrax shirt" XD

  • I mainly prefer to have cd's as a hard copy back up just in case. You never know what might happen. The only time I get something off iTunes is if I only like one song by a band or I can't find a cd someplace else. I've never been huge on order stuff online.

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    • yeah that's the sucky thing about having music on phones... if something goes wrong with your phone, your music could be all gone. that happened to my dad not long ago but luckily nearly all his music was from his CDs and mine lol

    • Yeah I changed emails and the music on my ipod wouldn't play anymore. Apple did nothing to help. I found ways to get my old songs that weren't through itunes

  • Great Mytake! I couldn't agree more! Buying physical is the best way to support your favorite bands! Here's one of thousands of songs that I have both on CD and vinyl Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLce6Hi6gD0

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  • I buy to support my fav bands. I like metal and this is something like "alternative" on these days, the bands need the support from people who like them.

    But mainstream music (gangsta rap, pop, hip hop) can fuck itself. I don't like these garbage and I hope their fans let'em broke.

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  • Thanks!

    When first time I came to know about iTunes, I was shocked and I was like
    "Dude, look at those fools, they're paying for music"

    As the time passes, almost everyone uploads their songs on YouTube. You need little efforts to get them on your iPod.

    If music is music, why should I spend money on it when it's going to be available free tomorrow?

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    • well even putting youtube downloads onto an iPod can easily be piracy too, right?

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    • Alright. I'm planning to but Eminem's Revival this week. But problem is, it is not available in my country (India) and I'll need to import it. Fact is price of import is higher than album itself

    • damn that sucks. I live in the U. S. luckily there isn't so much trouble with that but I know that a box set I'm wanting will probably have to be special ordered. and that box set right now is almost $200 O. o I'm hoping soon the price will go down

  • I still love my vinyl and CDs what suck is most new cars don’t even have a CD player these days. Most of my cassettes from the 80s and 90s are gone now. I can still remember Metallica playing at Lamore in Brooklyn, NY and buying Ride the Lightening after the show.

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    • awesome XD my dad has boxes full of cassettes. still plays them sometimes. i'd say your way of getting Ride The Lightning was better, since you got it after a show. I just bought my copy out of curiosity at Walmart XD

  • Musicians get a few pennies, a dollar at most, from any physical disc/record/whatever that's sold.

    If you want to give the band money, go to a concert.

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  • Thanks for sharing your Take with GirlsAskGuys Community.

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  • Great piece, was an absolute joy to read! :-)

    The picture is of one of my most priced possessions, so feel free to take a guess on my view on music :-)
    (Frank Sinatra, original vintage vinyl, 1966: a man and his music)

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  • The nice thing about the old LP's is some cool artwork to look at, and you can even frame it. Other than that, it just takes up space in the house. It seems like technology is geared to MAKE you drop the old formats. I started using iTunes when it came out, and still pretty much just use that format. I used to supliment that with CD's that I bought, and load them into my laptop, but the thing is, the new laptops don't even have a slot for CD's anymore. Even the desktops don't have them. Now, I just stay with iTunes.

    It's the same thing with movies. I don't buy DVD's anymore, I buy movies on the Amazon cloud.

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    • yeah I have my LP's on display in my room. definitely one of the things I love about them.

  • Hey I like your article. The reason I don't buy more music is because I don't have a disposable income anymore. This concept has been a problem for me for over a decade, right wing governments are only interested in protecting some parts of the economy, arts always come last. So inflation has made the cost of most purchases to rise. I can't party as much, i can't buy as much.

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  • Even when iTunes was at its peak I used to buy CDs because iTunes had files that could only be played on iPods. With CDs you can rip MP3s and take them with you without having to worry about whether or not your files can play outside of your iPod or not. Plus my car had a CD player and you could not use an iPod through the speakers unless you either had an FM transmitter or an audio jack.

    But sometimes having that physical thing in your hand... it does make it special sometimes.

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  • I remember my junior-high and high school days when my friends and I would be excited for the next punk rock album to come out. We sometimes would skip class to go to the store and pick it up as soon as it was released. Holding it, putting it into the c. d player or on the record player and just sitting around listening was amazing. A lot of kids nowadays don't know how good that feels. Now you can just go online and download an mp3 or play songs on youtube.

    I even had a massive metal and rock cassette collection passed down from my cousin. I enjoyed putting it into my cassette player and rewinding in order to play through it from the beginning again.

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    • awesome XD I remember being amazed when I first heard AC/DC's Back In Black on vinyl my dad gave me. one of the originals. for many years I had been hearing it on digital and on a crappy CD that skipped a lot. I just love the warm tone the vinyl brings out in music

    • Yup, when people ask why I like vinyl so much, I tell them that there is nothing like the warm tone that comes from it.

  • I love buying used music, mostly CD’s as I don’t own a record player. lol

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    • I mostly have CDs for that same reason. though I sometimes use my dad's record player lol plus its sometimes a little hard for me to afford the vinyl

  • I buy CDs and then burn them on to my iPods.
    If its not available on CD then digital is the last option, rarely happens tho.

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    • its been over a year since I bought music online. but its true, sometimes if something is too difficult to find on CD, digital is the way to go.

  • They make enough money
    If they lose a little from record sales its fine

    Not paying 100's of dollars for music when its either free or super cheap

    Lol. Money doesn't grow on trees bubbles

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    • bubbles? sheeiiittt

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    • Im just saying
      Lol

      Albums are cool. Id buy then but i wouldn't give up $15,000 for music when i can use that better lol

      Like i get it. I buy books. A lot
      Its expensive. I can also get them free

      With books i like holding it and having paper physical copies

      So i understand what ypu mean. You want the physical copy

    • yeah man I get that. like I'm not against digital ways, its actually pretty awesome how you can have a whole library of music and books in one little device. I have some iTunes stuff and music from my CDs put into my phone. but it is true that I do prefer the physical copies. the digital stuff is good when you're out someplace and can't have a big stack of CDs in your car lolz

  • These new-fangled cassette tape technology machines make it too easy for this generation. Back in my day, you had to go buy a violin, and you bought records on paper. ACDC never sounded better.

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  • I am getting my music from youtube or torrents. Vinyls I have from before are keot safe until I buy a player.

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    • yeah I actually don't have a record player, but luckily my dad does, he lets me use it

  • Wait.. people still pay for music these days?

    I haven't paid for a single damn song since the 90's lol. Call me a thief all you want but if I copied your house.. you'd still have your house. Hardly stealing.

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    • its considered stealing because of how its not being paid for really.

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    • @Pamina When you don't make a lot, YouTube being free makes all the difference

    • True. I'm just saying, it's lower quality.

  • I think that the beauty of having something physical doesn't compensate the handy of having it digital.

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What Girls Said 13

  • I absolutely agree! Although I do play music with YouTube and Pandora, I also have CDs and cassette tapes.

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  • I understand but for me it's more handy to have music on my phone

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  • I get what you're saying... but most of the artist's revenue comes from tours, very little comes from actual album sales. So I say - see them live each chance you get, don't worry as much about albums.

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  • It's important because it looks great on the shelf.

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  • Well i need to know first where to but original music lol

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  • I'd rather go to a concert to support a group than buy a physical album.

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  • Nice take

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  • Supporting artists is nice tho it's possible doing it already by buying their goods online

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  • Cool take

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  • Vinyl is the only way!!! CDs are decent though :)

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  • What's vinyl? lol

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    • c'mon man ya gotta be kidding

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    • You have good taste :P

    • @InTimoreDei Thanks

  • I dont pay for music. I download for free.

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    • as long as its those legal sites then you're not hurting the bands so much

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    • you know I wasn't specifying metallica. some bands like them do get a lot of money, but not ALL. how do you think bands get the money anyway? how did metallica become rich in the first place? bands that do have a lot of money would eventually lose it if people just get music free. believe it or not some bands do rely on their music to make a living

    • Yeah Chris Martin needs those so he can pay alimony to gweyth Paltrow, at the cost of what it takes to make her recipes on her goop website its not suprising.

  • Great take!

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