CD or MP3? DAT is the Question

Because I’m curious (and looking for an excuse to use Polldaddy), please indicate your preferred format for collecting recorded music. Just to clarify, I’m inquiring as to what you predominantly own, not how you typically listen (which could be the same, of course).

If you’re wondering, my preference is compact disc. And for your enjoyment, I jogged the old noggin to recollect all of my first purchases in various formats over time (year of purchase is indicated in parentheses):

Cassette (1981): Queen “Flash Gordon” (Soundtrack)
7″ Single (1982): Joey Scarsbury “The Greatest American Hero”
Vinyl LP (1983): Glenn Miller “A Memorial 1944-1969”
12″ Single (1984): Murray Head “One Night In Bangkok”
VHS tape (1985): “Duran Duran”
Compact Disc (1988): Bauhaus back catalog (5 CDs)
CD Single (1988): Bauhaus “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”
DVD (2000): “Austin Powers”
MP3 (2001): Various Steel Fish Records releases
Blu-ray (2009): “George Michael: Live In London”

During the heyday of sites like Napster and Gnutella, I was probably one of the few folks purchasing and legally downloading MP3s—I got those Steel Fish releases from the now-defunct (paid quite a bit for 160 kbps files). Perhaps not surprisingly, I no longer possess any of the products listed above, with the exception of the last item (which was a gift for Mrs. Shelf).

I encourage you to share your own ‘format firsts’ (no matter how embarrassing) in the comment section.

Posted on April 13, 2013, in SHELF. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. martymartymarty

    Format Firsts : my first purchases in various formats

    Cassette : Barbra Streisand, “Streisand Superman”
    7″ Single : Donna Summer, “Love To Love You Baby” and Captain & Tennille, “Love Will Keep Us Together” [same day]
    Vinyl LP : KC & The Sunshine Band, “Part 3” and KISS, “Love Gun” [same day]
    12″ Single : Vanity 6, “Drive Me Wild”
    VHS tape : Sade, “Diamond Life”
    Compact Disc : Diana Ross & The Supremes, one of those early Motown 2fers – don’t remember which one
    CD Single : Boy George, “Don’t Cry”
    DVD : Culture Club, “Live In Sydney”
    MP3 : big entry batch at eMusic, don’t remember who all was in it
    Blu-ray : none yet

    • Damn! You busted those out like you had them written down somewhere – that is awesome! I had to rack my brain a bit to come up with a few of mine. Good stuff – thanks Marty!

      • martymartymarty

        I have a memory for “firsts”, especially when it comes to what I spend childhood/teen years money on. Ha!

        I’ve found, in my own experience, that once it all went to MP3s that it lost a lot of that “magic” that a record or a CD has – the feel of it in your hands, the artwork, watching the label spin on the turntable. I miss all of that, and lacking that tactile aspect makes MP3s not resonate as much, I find.

        • Couldn’t agree more, Marty – the magic is gone. Real music is vinyl and CD; MP3s are just 0s and 1s.

          Amazing the sort of trivial nonsense that I can recall from 30 years ago, yet now I can’t remember what I did yesterday.

  2. (btw, my preferred format: Compact Disc)

    My firsts (music format speaking)…

    7″ Single (1981): Morning Train (9 To 5) – Sheena Easton
    Vinyl LP (1977): Shaun Cassidy – Shaun Cassidy
    12″ Single (1988): Forever Your Girl – Paula Abdul
    Cassette (1984): Colour By Numbers – Culture Club and She’s So Unusual – Cyndi Lauper (I bought 2 with birthday money)
    Cassette Single (1988): I Wanna Have Some Fun – Samantha Fox
    Cassette Maxi Single (1990): Don’t You Love Me – 49ers
    VHS tape (1989): Decade – Duran Duran
    Compact Disc (1992): Body Mind Soul – Debbie Gibson
    CD Single (1992): Groovy Train and All Together Now – The Farm (bought both together)
    DVD (2004): PLAY: The Videos – Peter Gabriel
    MP3 (2005): I finally gave in, and joined iTunes in 2005. My first ever purchase was January 13, 2005 ($40.59 total). Not to list every track i bought, but these are the artists…Cause and Effect, Electric Six, Motorcycle, Robbie Rivera, Conjure One, ONO, Haddaway, Mariah Carey, QED, Flexy, RuPaul, The B-52’s, Europe, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, The Williams Brothers, Robbie Williams, Will To Power, Bette Midler (Beaches), George LaMond, Daryl Hall and John Oates.

    I always loved music, but I was a late bloomer when I started to buy music…throughout any format. I was satisfied with recording songs off the radio. Plus, living far away from the city, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit music stores until I was old enough to drive in 1988. Oftentimes, I would delay purchasing a single/album in a new format, as I couldn’t overcome the higher prices and was set in my ways. Heck, I didn’t buy my own first CD Player until 1992, VCR in 1997 and my first DVD Player in 2004.

    • As with Marty’s comments above, I’m amazed by your detailed memory! And I completely understand your hesitancy to adopt new formats. My family purchased a VCR in 1982 (I think it cost close to $700), I bought my first CD player in 1988, and I didn’t buy a DVD player until 1999. I swore I wouldn’t buy a Blu-ray player but ended up with a Playstation 3 in 2009. Still don’t have an MP3 player or iPod though.

  3. My opinion is vinyl this is nature sound and nothig is better on .Five years ago have been experiment vinyl vs cd (this experiment of music industry Sony and other houses) and vinyl vins.Nothing better as vinyl.

  4. 7″ Single – Kraftwerk – the Model
    12″ Single – New Order – Blue Monday
    Cassette – Kraftwerk – Computerworld
    Cassette Single – Yazoo – Don’t Go
    Cassette Maxi Single – Depeche Mode – Stripped
    VHS tape – New Order – Taras Shevchenko
    Compact Disc – New Order – Substance
    CD Single – Front 242 – Masterhit
    DVD – Gladiator
    MP3 – Underworld -Dubnobasswithmyheadman – My first download of my all time best album

  5. i have 4100 songs/50 GB of mp3s on my hard drive but when it comes to “collecting” music (ie, music i want to keep), it’s CD. i like having a physical object with artwork, etc., and a hard copy that won’t disappear if a hard drive dies (and i don’t yet trust the cloud…)

  6. Music Archivist

    IT dont matter what formatt as long as it sounds good

    Well my very first purchase was pet shop boys Please

    most of my stuff was old ass david bowie rolling stones kiss black sabbath pink floyd on 8 track and reel to reel but my father now has all of those

  7. Cassette (198?) – Def Leppard – Pyromania
    7″ Single (1987) – The Cure – Just Like Heaven (white vinyl edition)
    Vinyl LP (198?) – The Police – Ghost In The Machine
    10″ Single (1985) – The Cure – Quadpus EP
    12″ Single (1985) – The Cure – InBetween Days
    Cassette Single (1987) – The Cure – Catch
    VHS tape (198?) – some Cure bootleg from Brazil
    Compact Disc (1987) – The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
    CD Single (1992) – JAMC – Far Gone and Out (holographic CDSingle)
    DVD – ???
    MP3 – ???

  8. and how could I forget …

    8-Track (198?) – David Bowie – Scary Monsters

    • Ha ha! I totally forgot about 8-tracks. My lone 8-track purchase was “Shake It Up” by The Cars – bought it for a buck at a farmer’s market in 1984.

  9. Jeepers, here goes:

    Cassette (1980): Madness – Absolutely
    7″ Single (): Iron Maiden – Number Of The Beast
    Vinyl LP (1974): Dougal And The Blue Cat (bought for me), (1983) Duran Duran – Rio, I bought myself.
    12″ Single (1984): Duran Duran – Wild Boys
    VHS tape (1985): Thompson Twins – Into The Gap Live
    Compact Disc (1990): The Stone Roses – Sally Cinnamon – Reissue
    CD Single (1988): Duran Duran – I Don’t Want Your Love
    DVD (2002): Tin Cup
    MP3 (2004): Trouble – Shampoo
    Blu-ray (2010): The Dark Knight (it was the reason I bought the Blu Ray player!)

    I put the year I bought them, not when they were released.

    A real mixed bag, lots of Duran, which is expected, as they’re one of only 4 bands whose releases I still buy, on multi-format no matter what.

    Of course it doesn’t show the full story, I was lucky enough to be 19 when the Manchester scene broke, and then 21 when the dance scene hit a couple of years later.

    Collect stuff, mostly CD now, I’ve still got loads of vinyl, but no record deck, my fave format was the mini-disc, still is, but I’ve still got a first gen iPod in the loft, with the physical scroll wheel.

    Technology moves music forward as it should do, but hell, you can’t beat a good liner note!

    • Great variety, Mark – the Iron Maiden single is an odd surprise. And keeping up with all those DD releases must have put a dent in yer wallet. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Cassette – Grease Soundtrack
    LP – ABBA – The Album
    7″ – Mike Post – Theme From Hill Street Blues
    12″ – Yazoo – Don’t Go
    CD Single – Swimming With Sharks – Careless Love
    CD Album – Martika – Martika’s Kitchen

    Succumbed to the CD Album format very late as I was clinging on to the vinyl for dear life…but it was a lost cause in the end.
    70% of my collection is vinyl, 30% CD. Also have 2TB worth of music at the moment. Slowly ripping my CDs to digital files.

  11. You should check them out! Like Banderas (MUST.CHECK.OUT!), they remind me of a female Pet Shop Boys.
    Inga Humpe from Swimming With Sharks also covered the boys’ Do I Have To as a single in 1992. Her solo album is produced by Trevor Horn. You get the picture.

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