I’ve stuck to buying physical CDs for a long time. So long that I feel like a luddite nowadays as most music buying has shifted to the online world (iTunes, Google, Amazon, Zune, etc). The more I think about it, the less I know why I have been doing this; perhaps owning physical CDs feels more substantial than having electronic copies on your computer? In any case, I think I overvalue the physical CD quite a lot. I never take advantage of being able to hold it in my hands though; I never look at the liner notes, and whenever I take one home, I rip them (into mp3s) and then tuck the actual CD into a box somewhere. Why don’t I skip a step and just buy online?
That’s a good question and I think I have finally defeated my inertia on this. I didn’t buy from iTunes because AAC’s .m4a/p extensions, no matter what Apple says about sound quality, is not an mp3. But now there are a lot more alternatives. I’ve actually been buying from Amazon (buying == taking advantage of free credits, just like iTunes) more often because they give you real .mp3s.
In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time browsing around and Amazon has a clear advantage in price. I think the price of physical CDs, whether new or used, have reached rock bottom. You’ll pay $10 for new and at least $5 for used. Amazon sells many popular CDs from the last few years for $3 through rotating and periodic sales. Also you can always buy just one song from that one hit wonder and not their entire CD (I’m looking at you EMF). Those are good enough reasons for me to buy online (only problem is that I have to use a US billing address).
This whole change started because Amazon gave me a free download credit at the Amazon MP3 store for downloading their Android free app of the day. I guess that was a good marketing ploy!