What Gets Left Behind

I only recently started digitizing my CD collection in a methodical way. I’ve been doing it haphazardly, basically saving whatever I wanted to use in electronic form at the time, but one weekend I decided to take the plunge.

Note that I’m talking about all the older CDs. Anything new gets ripped immediately.

I’m still barely into the “B”s, and that’s where I’m hitting the conundrum I’ve been wondering about since the beginning, and the reason why I didn’t start an A-to-Z digitizing project to begin with. Namely: I’ve reached a CD that I don’t think I want to save.

“So skip it,” you say. No big deal.

Well, sure. That’s the rational approach. Considering the number of CDs that get lost or broken over the years, what’s the difference?

But I’ve always thought of my CD and record collections, relatively small though they are, as collections. They’re single objects, whole bodies that happen to be made up of small, vital parts. So if I decide to digitize The Collection — the fact that anything might get left out bothers me.

The problem, of course, is that my taste in music has changed radically. The smooth jazz that I dabbled with in the ’90s is unbearable now. In fact, some of those CDs weren’t that enjoyable even back then — what possible use would I have for them in, say, 2019? (No offense, but I’m looking at you, Chick Corea Elektric Band.)

But do I just leave those albums behind? Do I really create a digital library with holes in it?

In the end, I’ve decided to just digitize it all. Even the warts, the mistakes, the wayward paths. It will be easier to delete them, if I ever choose, than to re-discover and add them later, if I somehow chose to do that.

Make sense? No? Tough.

The CD in question, by the way, was Song of the Sun by Jim Beard. I didn’t even try listening to it.

Now, when it comes to digitizing the vinyl collection someday — that’s different. All the stuff I just said, all my cherished principles of completeness? Out the window. Because you have no idea what atrocities await in there. Brrr.

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