State of the union
This section of my site is dedicated to something that is really precious for me: my album collection. It counts 228 albums (or music DVDs or compilations). The exact numbers are on the left..
I make it a point to buy all the music I like. But ofcourse, I don't support the music industries current situation. If you do everything 'legally' you would need to put your hard earned money down on every album that might interest you. That's nonsense. At least with a lack of a decent return policy in your record store (or iTunes for that matter).
So yeah, I do things differently. I organize my iTunes library in 4 sections: 'new stuff', 'keepers', 'want' and 'bought'. A 5th section, 'in rotation' makes sure there is a clear flow through the 4 sections. If something is good enough it gets upgraded from 'new stuff' to either 'keepers' or 'want', other stuff gets deleted (except for the 2-3 songs I like). I'm still undecided on buying the 'keepers' (my budget is not unlimited, and having too many albums keeps you from exploring the albums you've bought in dept), but the albums in the 'want' section are sure to be bought within the year. I also only store the 'bought'/'want' albums in high quality (256kbps AAC), all the other albums are stored in 160kbps MP3.
Buying MP3s is also an awfully bad trend on itself. Obviously, it serves one of the purpose why I buy music: to support your favorite artists. But what do you get? A couple of files that are also available on any (illegal) sharing site. Artwork that is displayed in iTunes with a width of 150px. Lyrics that are only available when sitting in front of your computer. It's just sad, when for (almost) the same price, you can get the case + cd + leaflet in your favorite record store (or on Amazon).
This brings me to the next 'awfully bad trend'. CDs in thin (paper) cases. Yeah, it's cheap to produce, but you don't get any extras (lyrics, extra artwork), it easily tears, and it's hardly visible on your CD shelf.
My last concern is also linked to CDs. Concern? Rather a possible reinvention of buying physical music. Store the music on flash memory. Put it in a nice case. Make that flash stick readable on computer (USB or variant), but also create dedicated players that can replace your CD player. You don't even need dedicated players: most DVD players and TVs already have a USB entrance. It would provide a perfect fusion between your digital and physical music collection.