Own Your Own Shit

I've been on a kick lately. Well, off and on for a few years at this point. I've said this before, but I'm tired of the threat of the sudden catastrophic failure of DRM. Since many of us have largely gone digital, so has our media. And in many ways, that media no longer belongs to us. We're simply paying a price to borrow the media we consume, and in many cases, we're outright renting. And I'm tired of it.

So in the last few years, I’ve been building — often rebuilding — the media collection I’ve thrown out in favor of digital. The biggest example of this is records. Yes, hipstery Funko Pops records — I don’t care, I love them. I have rules for records, though. In all but a few cases, I only buy records that I know I can listen to front to back. I buy records I know I’ll want to listen to over and over again.

I’ve also started this practice with CDs, though with different criteria. I’m less strict on my rules if I know a CD has only one or two songs that I like on it if I find it at Goodwill or Value Village for like $2. (My best CD score ever was the first three Gorillaz albums for under $10 total at the Capitol Hill Value Village in Seattle (RIP).) This is all about buying the CDs, ripping them, and replacing the fleeting Apple Music downloads I have with a copy I actually own. I’m building a library of CD quality music.

I’ve found this makes listening to music a deliberate act. Listening to music has become so easy to listen to what you want, when you want to, that it almost doesn’t mean anything anymore. And like, I don’t necessarily think that’s a terrible thing. But it’s kind of thoughtless now. Playing music off of physical media means a choice was made. It means more effort and attention was made to the act of listening. And in itself, that’s rewarding.

There’s other things too — websites, books, photos — but that’s for another time.