The CD Collection: To Cull or Not to Cull?

This comes from The  I can totally relate with this guy.

It was a week or so ago, while rearranging my CD collection for the 475th time to accommodate the new QOTSA, Shapeshifter, and Mount Kimbie releases, that I found myself wondering why I was wasting another 90 minutes of my life that I wouldn’t be getting back.

Like any self-respecting OCD control freak, my CD racks have to be well maintained. Albums are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within respective artist discographies, then with similar artists grouped together (BT next to Booka Shade, just a little bit away from James Blake and Katy B, who are close to Tim and Jeff Buckley but nowhere near The Beatles, for example), and finally – if the stars truly align – colour-coded by spine. (The rules for DJ mixes are too complex to detail here, but incorporate elements of the same method/madness.)

It’s an effective system for keeping your collection on its toes, and particularly useful that time I was staring at my racks a couple of weeks after moving to Sydney and noticed a gap in the Js where Jay-Z used to be, and Muse’s Showbiz missing, and Wish You Were Here, and pretty soon the tally had hit double digits while some shonky removalist in Sydney’s west was no doubt blazing up to the strains of their ill-gotten gains.

But when your collection runs into the several thousands (not counting the box full of promos that you’ll digitise one day, or the several hundred gig of external hard drive that you’ve never listened to), shuffling everything along to slot three Fiona Apple albums in at the tail-end of the As becomes a bit of a burden. It was midway through this process that I knew a ruthless cull was in order.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “The CD Collection: To Cull or Not to Cull?

  • June 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I was this guy once… one day I looked at my room of music and thought, what the hell am I doing?! I had approximately 4000 CDs which at least half I had only listen to once. There was also a large stack that was waiting for my ears attention. Not to mention my mp3, vinyl, vhs and dvd collections. The last straw was when I decided to move and had to hall these collections to my new place. 50% of the move was the collection which was extremely heavy. Everything was packed alphabetically so it would be easy to unpack. After that move I decided it was time to let go. Got rid of all my DVDs, VHS, Vinyl (though I wish I hadn't) and started on my CDs. I loved my music collection but there wasn't enough time in my life to even listen to that many albums. I did however digitize my CDs before I let them go so I could at least listen to them if I wanted to. One thing I have to say, listening to a physical piece is more enjoyable than search for an mp3. In someways it's easier… if you have a very large collection of music.

  • June 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I did the same as I digitized my CD collection and uploaded all content to Google Play. Now, I have my collection anywhere and everywhere I go.


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