I recently heard the gloomy news that Best Buy was going to stop selling CDs. I didn’t see that one coming, but I guess it’s because I never thought about it. In truth, anyone could have actually seen it was inevitable. Everyone downloads their music these days if they want their own copy.
The rapid transformation of these things is rather amazing. Edison started the whole recording industry with a small, spindle-like thingamabob. It recorded and produced sounds for all posterity. From there, we went (somehow) to platters of vinyl with our fave recordings on them. These were the things everyone listened to when I was growing up. As I recall, we referred to them as records. Anyone remember them?
From there, we rapidly moved on to personal reel-to-reel tape recorders (both large and small), and skipped right on to eight track and cassette tape cartridges. These electronic beauties were great because they didn’t have to be wound around the reel. The tape was contained in a sealed, plastic container. These little inventions were fantastic until your favorite album got tangled in the tape player. Storage was somewhat of a problem as well (everyone’s back seat was full of tapes and miscellaneous empty tape cases).
“They were a no-brainer.”
When I was well into my adult years, someone came up with the CD (compact disc). They were like miniature records—flat, easy to store, and they had great sound. No scratches, no getting jammed in the player, no rewinding. They were a no-brainer (until they weren’t).
They went out of style when someone figured out how to download songs onto an iPod, electronic tablet, computer, or a magic chip embedded in your big toe. Now we can hear our music, but we can’t see it. Storage is a breeze (even compared to CDs). I have to say, however, I really miss album liners (most of you probably don’t even know what those are).
“I have no idea…”
My lovely Bride and I recently moved to a new home. In the process of unpacking, I discovered we had four hundred CDs—none of which we ever played (many we didn’t even remember we owned). In the spirit of downsizing, I gave away two hundred of them (don’t ask me why I kept the other two hundred—nostalgia, I guess). I also discovered a crate of vinyl LPs (otherwise known as records). I have no idea why I’m keeping those. I don’t even have a way to play them.
The scary thing is, most of this happened in my lifetime. I don’t remember Edison, but I did enter the fray shortly thereafter. I can’t even imagine where we’re headed from here.
There’s a passage in Ecclesiastes that indicates everything has its own time and season. A time to sow, a time to reap, a time for casting stones, and a time for CDs. I guess that time is hastily coming to an end. I suppose it’s now the season for me to transfer all that music to a hard drive.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently the pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]