CDs are still the best music format.

Over the last generation, we’ve seen a lot of media formats for music. When I was a kid, my dad had a library of 8-tracks. I grew up listening to cassettes, 45s, and LPs. Then, one day – there were CD players. It seemed revolutionary at the time, and compared to vinyl (which had its start in the late 1800s) it really was. While modern listeners have come to appreciate the qualities of vinyl again (with all its pops, crackle, scratches – I mean “warmth”) CDs made all the problems of earlier formats disappear. Tape wow and flutter? Warped discs? Scratches? Dust? Headcleaners? Gone. Need a new needle for your player? All gone. The discs were even more durable, and more portable.

And the sound was great. Granted, not every CD sounds great – but if the producers put the right effort in, it can be amazing. Lots of people have strong opinions about this, too.

There is a lot to be said for physical media when getting to know a new album, and how it adds to the experience. I can still remember the smell of some of the first cassette tapes I owned (and still refuse to part with them despite having long retired any device for playing them back). Liner notes and album are are a lost component in streaming media, and we are all the poorer for it.

Full disclosure: I own, and enjoy, lots of vinyl. I have a streaming subscription, which I use for most casual listening. But I have at least 500+ CDs, which I still buy, and love to run on my setup at home.