August 10th, 2013

A Purple Straw Hat

The Last of the Discs! (I think)

I finished ripping the operas and making playlists for them (dunno how those will transfer to the mobile devices, but I guess I'll find out). Total tracks in my library: 8733. Total purchased: 942. So I guess that between the initial project of ripping, long, long, like almost 10 years ago, and finally really doing the whole library, I've ripped around 600 CDs, give or take.

I'm still waiting for the final update through match, which has failed repeatedly and will likely continue to fail before it finally succeeds.

It's a little weird to be done with this. I did pull out the Xmas CDs, and tracked down a couple small stacks from the 3rd floor. Which is not to say there will never be another CD turn up and need to be done, but I'm sort of hoping that I never have to do this for more than five minutes ever again. It was a Chore.

I remain highly ambivalent about whether it was worth it. Remembering some of the stuff I had forgotten was pretty awesome, and of course having a big library of music just sitting there available to listen to is pretty amazing. But I think I could have rebought everything I really cared about for around $1000, and once you factor in the time, it's just not clear whether this was worth it (of course, that depends on what your time is worth to you).

It's also a surprisingly down-mood activity. It's possible to stay happy while doing it, but it's a grind, and a surprising amount of cognitive load to keep it moving along, not to mention the ongoing hassle I experienced with the match process (network lost repeatedly -- I've mentioned this). If you decide to take this kind of project on yourself, really make yourself take frequent breaks doing something that will give you a win. And think long and hard before taking it on. You might be better of just chucking your CD library in the trash and re-buying the things you really care about.

ETA: *sigh* R. found another shelf. In good news, the first 8 had already been ripped, and the 9th was a Jack Johnson that I would surely have rebought. Let's see what the rest of the stack contains.

Unripped includes: The Roots "Game Theory", Jill Scott's "The Real Thing", some Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Lyle Lovett, Levon Helm's "Dirt Farmer", Plant and Kraus, along with a few more mysterious items, like Ugly Duckling's "Bang for the Buck", Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, and so on. Interesting. Glad I/we found it. R. knew to look, but missed them; I went and took a closer look and found them.

11 ripped; 15 unripped.

ETA still more: Okay. Done. For reals. (Hopefully.) (This time for sure, Rocky!)
A Purple Straw Hat

The Ethics of What to Do with Those CDs

When I first started ripping CDs, back in 2003 or 2004, I was ripping lossless AAC, and that's part of why I stopped the project: there were size issues with disc drives. Anyway. This time around, I'm ripping 256, to match the size of what's coming from iTunes Match. I've essentially abandoned any hope of retaining audiophile status, and I'm Really OK With That.

Most people who do something significant to their CDs -- I'm thinking of TvV here -- hang onto the CDs after their project. And that includes ripping everything. The CDs are parked in an attic/basement/under the stairs, either as a backup in the event of something horrible happening (pretty unlikely, given I've signed up with Match) or in case of a mad desire to rip to a higher quality (not unreasonable for people who were ripping really low quality Back in the Day, but irrelevant for my purposes. I am Done with Ripping. Seriously. Done. Done. Done.).

I did something to my CDs a long while ago. I bought CD Projects rack and sleeve system, and at some point I ditched the racks and just stored the sleeves in media boxes. I had 5, altho not everything was converted to the sleeves, because, for example, opera libretti, also things that weren't in jewel cases were tough to know what to do with.

What I have, then, is a largish collection of CDs in sleeves with the liner notes and booklets that used to be in jewel cases (and YES I got rid of the jewel cases. Fuck yes.), and a smaller collection of things that never made it out of jewel cases because I bought them at an increasingly chaotic time in my life (kids!) and/or are still in their Not Jewel Case packaging.

I figure, donate all the stuff still in its original case; leave everything else in the 4 media boxes that constitute the reduced collection, in the basement because, well, I don't know what else to do with them and they've been there for a while they can stay there a while longer. Also, 1 of the cases and part of a second are operas.

I am not selling the stuff in original cases because I don't think you can sell used CDs anymore (and I'm sure you have a bright idea, and I'm mildly curious but absolutely not going to act on it). However, I recognize that there is an ethical issue associated with ripping and keeping the digital copy after giving/selling the p-copy to someone else. The question is, do I care.

No. I don't. And here's my rationalization.

It's kind of immoral to have stuff that is useful that you are not using, if someone else could make use of it. (<-- Value judgment, but I _am_ talking ethics here, so, duh.)

It's kind of immoral to destroy things that would be useful to other people.

It's probably some variation of illegal/copyright infringement/licensing violation/wtf to copy and donate/sell.

Of the three, the third is very, very, very far down on the List of Things I Care About (on bad days, I might be in favor of violating just on the basis of protest/activism). The first I am resigned to. The second I actually feel kind of strongly about.

So I'm donating, because that aligns best with my values.

This is what I mean when I say, "Compared to What?" Morals, like everything else, do not exist in a vacuum.