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Why should I hang on to my CDs?

Why should I hang on to my CDs?
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Operations - Store and Insure

Should I get rid of all my discs?

CDs and DVDs are low-hanging fruit when you are decluttering. There is a ready market for them and streaming music services are improving all the time. So why do you need all those discs taking up yards of shelf space? Before you pack your CDs off to a cash-for-media service, think again.

Your ripped music is not legal in the UK

The legality of ripping media (that is, making a copy of a CD and putting it on your computer so that you can listen without putting in the disc) has changed several times over the decades. A law was made in October 2014 allowing you to make a back-up for personal use – but this was overturned in July 2015. You can learn more about this sorry state of affairs at Copyright Users .

You do not own digital content from a streaming service

You’ve paid for that album on iTunes, so you think you own it. Sorry, but no you don’t. You’ve leased it by paying for a licence. Music and movies ‘bought’ from Apple, Amazon and Google are linked to and restricted by those organisations. If Amazon fails, your music is gone.

You may also wish to consider your legacy. There is still a lot of doubt over what happens to your digital resources when you die. Can you hand that Amazon account on to your children? Who knows: lawyers are still slugging it out. We do know, however, that it is possible to hand a collection of CDs and DVDs on to the next generation – though we recommend you include a DVD and CD player in that legacy!

Is all the content available on your streaming service?

Many of us have irreplaceable items in our music collection: a CD purchased at a gig by handing a fiver directly to the lead singer of a defunct 1990s band. Your best mate’s demo disc. A CD of Nepali folksongs you picked up while travelling. You are not going to find these in a streaming service.

And it’s not just the obvious content you should consider. There’s the film, right there, included in your Amazon Prime membership. But what about the extras on the DVD? If director’s commentary and making-of documentaries are valuable to you, then hold on to your discs. And with your music,  streaming services deprive you of album art and sleeve notes.

Some content is available streamed, but poorly organised. Classical music is an example of this: inconsistent tagging and track data make it difficult for listeners to organise their library and locate a particular piece of music.

It’s okay to keep CDs and DVDs for sentimental reasons

Finally, never forget it is completely acceptable to have a collection of physical media if that’s what you like. We’re human beings, and human beings like possessions. We enjoy holding objects, owning objects, organising objects, and we should accept that, as long as it’s not making other areas of our life difficult. If you are not playing your discs frequently and you resent the space they take up, consider placing them in a self-storage unit – and you may wish to insure your collection for complete peace of mind.