Today, on his Coding Horror blog, Jeff Atwood writes about “The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment” and how no one can tell the difference between 192kbps encoded MP3s and raw CD audio.

That’s nice.

Jeff talks about how he still listens to his CD collection, and that he’s paying a relative to rip it all into decent quality MP3s as a summer project.

That’s nice, too.

But Jeff’s a dying breed. Not only are CDs dead (really, they are! I promise) but so are MP3s or any other personal music collection.

Until about 2008, I had a CD collection that I always liked to have ripped to MP3 or FLAC files (it just felt cool to have FLAC, I could never tell the difference in the audio, and I didn’t have a mobile player). I enjoyed having my entire CD collection available with my player set to random. I thought it was the bee’s knees.

But then I got married, had a baby (well, my wife did the hard part there), stopped using my computer at home much, and Pandora was invented. I haven’t listened to any of my CD/MP3/FLAC collection in at least a year. Not one single song.

I’m a subscriber to Pandora, $3 a month is pretty decent, and my family uses it pretty much every day. We have about 20 different “channels” that we like, and I’ve not even thought about my CD collection (which is in the basement inside a foot locker) until reading Jeff’s post.

Personal music collections are a thing of the past. Whether they be CD, MP3, or any other format based. The cloud is winning here and will only get better over time. Why limit yourself to the 1000 (or how ever many you have) albums when you can effectively have unlimited albums? And all for the same price as buying 3 albums per year?

Apple has been killing it with iTunes, they are “the place to buy digital music online.” But they have to see the writing on the wall. Personal music collections are going away. I’m curious to see how they deal with that. Also, in the same vein, “apps” are going to go away, too. But that’s for another post!

I’m with Fred Wilson on this one, music in the cloud is the only way forward. Probably worth taking my CD collection to a used music store and getting a few bucks for it, before no one wants CDs anymore…


21 June 2012