Sunday, May 06, 2007
save the planet

If you're masochistic enough to regularly read Pacific Press' slightly less terrible BC daily, you were rewarded yesterday with David Suzuki's guest edited edition of the Vancouver Sun. The special edition of the paper featured a variety of pretty interesting stories about all things green, but the one that stuck out for me was on CDs and the waste that they generate.

There's already a sizable stack of crappy promo discs, unwanted or damaged albums, and cheap giveaway compilations that are cluttering up my living quarters, and are ultimately destined for a landfill somewhere. But on top of that I've got hundreds, maybe even thousands, of CDs, LPs, and 45s. Now, barring a complete Sleater-Kinney discography suddenly becoming some sought after collectors item, one would imagine that my kids won't exactly be keen on putting dad's stupidly large record collection anywhere other than a landfill. Also, considering I don't really want kids anyhow, you can pretty much count on all these shiny plastic discs (and their shiny plastic cases) ending up as trash.

The thing is, when it comes to music, I like the physical product. I like to hold CDs and records (especially records) in my hands. I don't want to look at a .pdf of the album art. I like to go to the record store to buy things. I like the artifact - the tangible, physical, piece of art. And while CD sales are on the decline, there are still a lot of people like me. I'd also venture to guess that these people - also like me - feel guilty about their other environmental transgressions. Yet, even though it's a crappy, subpar sounding format to begin with, for some reason we won't give up our compact discs.

There are, of course, other issues that surround digital music right now. DRM is the biggest one, but there's also the fact that you're losing even more fidelity than you are with a CD with a tinny sounding 128kbps AAC file. On the other hand, some retailers are offering 320kbps or vbr DRM-free mp3s. Not only can you do whatever you want with the files, but at that bit rate, about 99% of the population wouldn't notice the difference in sound quality (and the other 1% are probably lying). More importantly, the waste generated from the record (not to mention the energy that goes into manufacturing a packaged CD) gets reduced by 100%.

What's an environmentally conscious music geek to do?

Side notes:
1) I've been sick, so I didn't get out to anything this weekend. How were the billion shows going on?
2) If New Music West happens and nobody cares, does it make a sound?

now playing: Cat Power - Shaking Paper

5 Comments:

be your own pet: they had technical bass difficulties near the beginning delaying the show a bit. later on, some bro-ski told the singer to "blow me." she spazzed, threw a hissy fit and went on a tirade on the guys of vancouver. unfortuneately i fucked up and have nothing to show for it so i have no proof. :(

arctic monkeys: well i wasn't disappointed.

Explosions in the sky: this was the best show i've seen all year. if you want proof, you can find it either on www.iamserio.us or www.archive.org probably next week.

By Blogger firmdragon, at 12:35 AM  

I hear you about paying to have the tangible CD in your hands. I'm exactly the same way. I don't really care if I'm just going to rip the disc into iTunes and then leave it on the shelf. I equate downloading with free and I have really hard time paying for lower quality DRM tracks.

Rick

By Anonymous rickvug, at 2:28 AM  

I was thinking about the waste of CDs when I was moving this weekend.

I piled up a bunch of promos that I'm intending to try and pawn off at Zulu, but they've definitely rejected my wares based on their fundamental atrociousness before.

What do you think about paper packaging of CDs? Still bad, but maybe not as plastilicious?

By Anonymous Jackie, at 10:13 AM  

Art (and the resulting resource use) inhabits a magical, infallible realm to me. It's a pretty weak stance considering my otherwise strong opinions about waste and the environment, but I enjoy thoughtful album art just as much as the next girl...

As long as it stays in circulation -- that is, cull what you aren't dearly attached to, recycle, try to buy used -- it might make a slight, slight difference?

By Blogger Luisa Irene, at 9:20 PM  

You should have been at the Submerged Records showcase on Friday night. Maybe I'm biased, though.

I missed Explosions in the Sky because I was too exhausted from the night before. I'm sure it was great, but could it have been as good as the Mew show?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:22 PM  

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upcoming shows
2/8 Twin Sister, Eleanor Friedberger, and Ava Luna @ the Media Club
2/9 David Choi @ the Rio
2/10 Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever @ the Rickshaw
2/13 White Buffalo @ the Media Club
2/14 The Ballyntines and Pleasure Cruise (TT) @ the Biltmore
2/18 Grimes w/Born Gold @ Fortune (early)
2/18 Cruel Young Heart, Young Liars, the Oh Wells, and Matiation @ the Dodson Rooms (AA)
2/18 Cursive w/UME @the Media Club
2/19 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour w/Vacationer @ Venue
2/20 Veronica Falls w/Bleached @ the Media Club
2/26 DJ Krush @ Fortune
2/29 Trevor Hall @ the Media Club
3/6 Slow Club w/Signals @ the Media Club
3/7 Cloud Nothings w/Mr. Dream @ the Media Clubr
3/8 Islands @ the Rio
3/10 Memoryhouse @ the Waldorf
3/17 William Fitzsimmons @ the Biltmore (early)
3/18 Magnetic Fields @ the Vogue (AA)
3/21 Plants & Animals>/b> @ the Rickshaw
3/22 Drive-by Truckers @ the Commodore
3/23 White Rabbits @ the Biltmore
3/23 Loney Dear @ the Media Club
3/24 Sharon Van Etten and the War on Drugs @ the Biltmore (early)
3/25 Nada Surf and An Horse @ the Rickshaw
3/27 The Ting Tings @ the Commodore
4/5 House de Racket @ the Electric Owl
4/6 Chairlift w/Nite Jewel @ the Electric Owl
4/7 Heartless Bastards @ the Media Club
4/8 Metronomy @ Venue
4/8 Gotye @ the Vogue (AA)
4/9 Cults @ Venue
4/10 First Aid Kit @ Venue
4/10 Andrew Bird w/Laura Marling @ the Vogue (AA)
4/13 The Odds and the Grapes of Wrath @ the Rickshaw
4/14 The Joel Plaskett Emergency @ the Vogue (AA)
4/24 School of Seven Bells w/Exitmusic @ the Electric Owl
4/26 Justice @ the PNE Forum (AA)
4/27 M83 @ the Vogue (AA)
4/27 Yukon Blonde @ the Commodore
4/28 Neon Indian @ Venue (early)
5/6 Delta Spirit w/Waters @ the Electric Owl
5/9 Yann Tiersen @ the Rickshaw
5/11 Great Lake Swimmers w/Cold Specks @ the Commodore
5/12 The Boxer Rebellion> @ the Biltmore
5/27 Coeur de Pirate @ Venue

legend:
AA = all ages
DG = @damaged goods
DFTK = @dirty for the kids
FJW = @fake jazz wed
EN = @easy now
GD = @glory days
HL = @higher learning JH = @junior high
JY= @junkyard
RRPP = @rocknroll pizza party
SD = @shindig
TT = @toonie tuesday
NW = @no worries

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previous posts
north american scum
fight sounds
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hallmark poultry, ltd
anything but disco
i'm getting loud with you
it hurts to see you dance so well
heroin is so passe
golden skans
you've been thunderstruck

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mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
unless noted

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