As our music collections take up more and more hard drive space than shelf space, I pose a question: do you feel closer to music in a physical form or digital form? For me, as nice as it is to have a portable digital jukebox, I'm not about to jump ship on the physical format any time soon.
MP3s are convenient, but there's a more intimate value with holding a CD or vinyl record. Having the album's cover pop up on iTunes is just not the same. "Value" is the key word as I wonder how much of value something is when it's a phantom, ones-and-zeros kind of thing. Plus, when you can get so quickly and easily (and free in a lot of places), is there any value?
This is not exactly the same, but what if this was seventeen years ago and you replaced your entire vinyl and CD collection with dubbed cassette tapes? You may save on space, but what about the connection to the music itself? Case after case of handwritten liner notes with no real distinction between them is what I'd see them as. Plus, I couldn't claim I really owned this stuff.
It's been six years since I was in college (when CD-Rs, burning and peer-to-peers exploded), but I still feel weird about having burned CD-Rs. I have numerous spindles filled to the brim with copies of mix CDs, full albums, EPs and so on. But the most I listen to one of them is in the car. Usually, six of my eight sleeves in my CD wallet are CD-Rs because of safety reasons. I know quite a few people who lost almost all of their CD collections because they put them in a large case in their cars. If my car was to be broken into and the CDs were taken, I'd probably lose about five dollars worth of CD-Rs. In other words: no big loss.
CD is still my preferred way of listening to music. The sound is still far better than any MP3 or vinyl I've heard. Maybe that shows my entry point to music as a child of the Eighties, but that's the way it is. But I wonder about kids who were born after Napster and the iPod broke through. I doubt the connection to music in general will be substantially less, but the disposable nature of current listening habits makes me wonder.