I’d buy that for $18.99

It was 24 years ago that I bought my first CD. It cost $18.99 and I got it at Duncan Radio & Electronics, which according to Google still exists as Duncan Electronics. Given the move to big box stores and the nature of change, I am astonished this little store has apparently made it well into the 21st century.

That CD was Songs From the Big Chair by Tears For Fears. I still have the disc today, though it’s actually a reprint with bonus songs. I am a bit surprised that the format hasn’t been replaced by something else in the quarter century that it’s been around. Oh, there have been a few attempts — the Super Audio CD and DVD Audio come to mind — but neither gained any traction, probably because a) the average person couldn’t hear a difference and b) the discs were the same format as CDs, which again leads a lot of non-technophiles to conclude “How could it be better?”

But the CD has been effectively replaced in many ways by the digital music file, typically the MP3 (or MP4/AAC format that Apple uses on iTunes). I normally kept my MP3 purchases to a few one-offs that I had a nostalgic hankering for but when Apple removed the DRM from most purchases earlier this year and doubled the bitrate from 128 to 256 (which is close enough to CD quality than anyone but an audiophile is likely to be satisfied), I started buying whole albums online. I do miss the physical media mainly due to the absence of liner notes (some albums include a PDF file which includes them, which is nice) but on the plus side,  I can get an album in a few minutes with no travel and typically pay less, as well.

I still hate that godawful faux brushed metal look on iTunes, though. Apple’s interfaces tend to be sublime or pretty awful. iTunes would fall into the latter category.

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