Why You Should Still Have a Physical Music Collection

Thinking about taking your music collection out of the virtual world and into the realm of the physical? It’s not as dated an idea as you might think.
Image credit: Mick Haupt/Unsplash

If you’re like many people, you probably don’t think about music much. It’s just sort of there, all the time. This commodification of music has enabled us to listen to much more of it more often, but it’s not all positive.

Do you feel like you’re not connecting with your music as much as you’d like? Maybe buying physical copies of your favorites could provide the connection you’re looking for.

Cover Art

Artists put a lot of work into the art that adorns your favorite songs and albums. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really translate into a tiny square on your computer’s screen or an even tinier square on your phone’s screen. When you buy a physical copy of a recording, even if it’s just a CD, you get a much better look at the art.

If you buy a 12-inch vinyl record, you’re getting an even better look at the art. Assuming you’re not a purist who wants to keep everything nice and tidy, you can even frame the art or just pin it to your wall.

Don’t forget all the other nice things you get with most records like liner notes, photos, and other niceties. If vinyl is your thing, the record itself might even be gorgeous to look at if it’s an unusual color or swirled vinyl.

Support the Artists You Love

While I’m one of those weirdos who still buys vinyl records and CDs, I’m not a luddite who runs away from music streaming. I just tend to look at streaming services more like we used to look at radio. When I’m listening to music in the background, I go for streaming.

A major problem with streaming is that no matter how many times you listen to your favorite artist, you’re not really sending much money their way. For super-huge artists, this isn’t a problem, but for your favorite band or individual that many people haven’t heard of, this is making their lives even tougher.

Buying a physical album sends much more money to the artist than streaming their music or buying it digitally does. This is true even if you buy through a major retailer like Amazon, but it’s even more true if you use a site like Bandcamp, which is a boon for independent musicians.

Listen to Music Mindfully

For some people, mindful listening is tied to meditation. For others, the meaning is more flexible. Yes, you can listen to music as a meditation aid, but you’re probably not going to do it with a classic rock album or some beat-heavy EDM. That doesn’t mean you can’t listen to that music mindfully.

At least for me, this is much easier with a physical recording, in my case a vinyl record. I like to put the record on the turntable, turn up the volume, and just listen. I might look at the lyric sheet or the cover art, but the thing I am doing is listening to the recording. It’s not background, it’s what I’m doing.

Learn more about the benefits of mindful listening to music.

You don’t necessarily need to own a physical copy of a recording to listen to it mindfully, but if you’re streaming from your phone, it makes it much easier to start browsing while you’re listening. If you’re not careful, this could quickly take your focus off the music.

Collecting Can Be Fun

You don’t necessarily have to have a reason to buy CDs or vinyl records. That said, some people need something to drive them. If that’s the case for you, maybe you might be interested in building a collection. You could focus on collecting all of a given artist’s studio albums or live albums, for example.

Of course, CDs, tapes, and records aren’t the only physical items worth collecting. If you’re looking to start collecting but don’t know what you actually want to collect, check out our list of nerdy collectibles to help you get started.

We earn commission if you purchase items using an affiliate link. We only recommend products we trust. See our affiliate disclosure.

4 comments
  1. Something else to consider… When you have a physical collection, you also own that physical copy. Streaming or purchasing a digital copy, you technically do not own that digital copy. You just have the right to use it. If the streaming company loses access to the license they have, you lose access to that song, album, artist, etc.

    Also, obscure albums, live albums (or tracks), albums before the band was famous are very difficult to find on a streaming service. Streaming services are geared towards what is popular at the moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts