When I approached Hakem, I thought he was giving his CDs away for free. But after I took the borrowed Beats headphones off and told him that I enjoyed his rapping, he told me, “18 tracks for $10”. Damn. I should have known better.
I haggled him down to $5, but when he handed me his CD, I realized that I couldn’t take it. I literally couldn’t do anything with it, as my MacBook Air didn’t come with a CD drive.
Hakem offered to send his tracks to my email address, which I gladly provided. However, he still insisted that I take the CD. I protested.
“Dude, I seriously can’t do anything with it. I’m going to end up losing it or throwing it away.”
“Just take it. You have friends, don’t you? Use one of their computers.”
“It’s too much of a hassle to find a friend, rip the songs, and then email it to myself. Look, just send me the tracks through email.”
Eventually, Hakem ended up dropping the CD into my bag anyway. He was really frustrated by the fact that I didn’t want to take his CD.
I live by strange rules in my life, and one of them is to minimize the number of things I own. The need to own more and more things is so deeply engrained in our culture that I’m pretty sure my desire to own as few things as possible makes me unpatriotic. Anyway, I didn’t want to take a CD that I had absolutely no use for. If he was going to email me the tracks anyway, I didn’t see why he would want to waste a CD on someone who didn’t even want it. He was probably hoping that I would pass it around to my friends.
One thing I realized through this interaction is that CDs are obsolete as a storage medium. When’s the last time that you’ve burned a CD? Maybe you made a mixtape for that one girl so she can play it in her ghetto Volkswagen that still doesn’t have an aux port. The CD’s importance as a medium for obtaining music has been severely diminished as we now have streaming services like Spotify and Rdio or even iTunes if you’re still buying songs for a dollar a pop. For all other data sharing needs, we have cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Box.
One of the reasons why I love Apple products and why so many other people hate Apple products is that Apple will decide on a future that they envision and create products that are tailored for that future. They’ll fulfill their own prophecies. When I first purchased my MacBook Air, I was afraid that not having a CD/DVD drive would be a huge inconvenience. Today’s experience reminded me just how much I don’t miss it.
The CD is dead, and the DVD/Blu-ray/what-have-you is right on its heels.