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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And we're back... with a Debate Vengeance!

I do not need to apologise to my readers for being away for so long, I have a HSC to do, you know, and I've got a ton of work that needs completing.

Instead of going into my emotionally wrecked state resulting from a new school term after all my Year 12 buddies my age have gone onto their own careers, while I'm still stuck in the Board of Studies education system due to the Pathways Program, I'll present you with something I call an open debate. Send your comments and we can try and come to a conclusion about a matter that concerns us all... well, most of us have bought a CD once in their life if they're under ten years old, right?

I have taken to stocking up on albums that I consider worthy of my shelf. Gone are the days when one can afford to build a massive rare record collection like my brother's, as they don't make records no more, sonny! (Well, they do make records, but they're all digitally remastered and have no soul like the vinyl of old did.)

In my youth, I had terrible taste in music. I confess to owning an original "Hampsterdance: The Album" CD first pressing. Back when I was around twelve to thirteen, I tended to get "compilation CDs" of various artist's pop chart hits, even if there was only a few songs worth listening to them on them, that was how shameless I was in my consumerism of trashy pop music. Then I got older, and I mooched music off my brother for a while, storing it when I copied it off his albums onto my portable 30 GIG hard drive. But then it got full, after many years of use. I still use it, and it still works. My logic works like this: If I just want a few tracks, I can mooch it off my brother's CDs, but if I like an album, and I REALLY like it, I'll buy it on CD for my personal collection. (That reminds me, my brother never did give me back my BeeGees "Number Ones" album...)

But hang on, now there's MP3s I can download. Trouble is, even if I did download songs, legally or illegally, if legally, I would forever be annoyed by iTunes suggesting new songs that "other people" who bought the same stuff downloaded, plus iTunes songs don't work on other MP3 players, because Apple is no longer the cheerful alternative to Microsoft it once was, now because of the iPod success, it will find ways to make sure you buy iPods without a second thought. If illegally, Google tracks my searches to "help me". Now I've said some bad things about Google before, but their new privacy policy and options to not have your information sold, has redeemed this corporation in my eyes. What you'll also notice in their Privacy Policy when you sign up for Google Reader or something like that, is that they comply with legitimate search warrants and law courts. Which, in essence, means that if you're a paedophile searching child porn on Google, or, on topic, if you download songs illegally by finding a search engine using Google to locate it for your pirating activities, you're screwed if Google decide that the courts or police need your searching information.

CDs, on the other hand, even "Best Of" collections, which are worth less than actual albums, will generally provide you with a hard copy of an album or a collection of songs which is reliable for use in a good, non-spin CD Player Stereo system. What's also good about CDs is that you can upload your songs from them into your iPod or any other MP3 player without any hassle usually.

Trouble is, with CDs, they can scratch, or break, or warp in the sun, or wear out from overuse. As my Mum discovered, they can also get stuck in some CD players by accident, forcing you to listen to "The Best of Mozart" over and over again on that player. That is why backing them up as MP3s is a good idea, for personal use only and not to distribute like a hooligan on the web.

The other good thing about CDs, is that you actually feel the satisfaction of owning something you can physically hold in its case. This nice touch of CDs on a shelf may not be as impressive as records were, but their compact size allows you to keep them on a shelf space in large numbers.

Another downside of CDs is that sometimes they cost too much for new release albums. However, such is the state of modern pop music that you're actually better off buying classic (and cheaper) albums, since although there is the odd post-2000 album that really resonates with the soul, most of them are commercially manufactured drivel if they're Top 40 chart albums. There is a solution to this, there are a few shops in Sydney near where I go to school in the City that sell CDs cheaper than usual, like JB Hi-Fi, Rock Bottom CDs and the rest.

Now I'm not dissing MP3s, it's just that the legal download services like iTunes have somewhat limited archives of music, and it's hard to find some obscure artists there. CDs on the other hand, deliver a wide variety of musicians. Yet sometimes CDs of the artist you are looking for are far and few, or are not even available. That is where MP3 wins in its ability to be collected in an archive easier, unable to be destroyed by mildew or weather conditions.

In closing, I have no other things to say. The rest is up to you to argue.

- Jacob Martin

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