I have bought hundreds of music albums for less than $5 each

I still purchase CDs. I am buying more than just a few CDs a year; I have over 1,000 albums total. I have not purchased any digital tracks nor have I joined the recent vinyl bandwagon and I have barely used any streaming music service. Isn’t this an expensive (and space taking) habit?

As I thought about all of these albums, I realized that in the last 15 years or so I have bought at least two hundred albums for less than $5. These cheaper CDs primarily come from two sources:

-Used book/music stores.

-Library sales.

This means the music I am buying tends to fall into several categories:

-Music people are looking to get rid of. It is always interesting to see what people are willing to sell and donate and what people do hold on to. Just as a quick example: certain classic rock bands always have plenty of CDs on hand for sale while others are hand to find. I am not buying all the extra copies of Top 40 albums people quickly ditched but I can find good albums by worthwhile artists.

-Music that does not command a high price. This usually means I am purchasing music that is not currently popular (it takes a while for music to filter down to lower prices) or music that was never that popular.

And here is why I will likely continue in this pattern of buying cheap music (even with all the space the songs take up):

-The purchase is usually cost effective. If I can get a CD for under $5 and I like more than 4 songs on the album, I come out ahead. (This assumes people still want to purchase music rather than pay a monthly fee or deal with advertisements to stream from over a million tracks.)

-I have a physical copy of the music. I find the trend toward streaming/renting all content a bit concerning for consumers and if I can find cheaper CDs, I will purchase them to help insure I have a copy.

-I generally like the process of going into stores to look at music. I know online shopping is convenient but finding an unusual and cheap CD is still a fun experience (and I do not devote too much time to this).

At some point soon, this might all end if CDs are phased out. Until then, I will keep looking for good music for cheap prices.

Album sales on continued decline

I still buy a decent amount of music albums in CD form. But apparently I am part of a dwindling crowd: NPR reports that album sales are at a record low (even when accounting for digital tracks), 12% down compared to last year, and way off the peak in 2000.

So what’s the next plan for the music industry?

Quick Review: Amoeba Music

Perhaps there are better sites to see on the West Coast but I always thoroughly enjoy visiting Amoeba Music, the best used music store I have ever seen. Prior to this month, I had visited two of the locations (San Francisco and Berkeley). On a recent vacation to California, my wife and I visited the Hollywood location, the biggest store of the three.

The selection is beyond what I have found in any other music store. In the world of music retail that has seen the closure of Tower Records and Virgin Megastores plus the decline in CD sales, Amoeba stands out as a place where you can find everything. The pop/rock section is extensive but so are the other sections which include electronica, soul, jazz, Latin, and classical. I don’t know where they get all their used music but this isn’t like most used music stores that have been taken over by DVDs and video games.

My only complaint is that some of the used CDs are pricey ($8-10). However, this is offset by the extensive selection: I have found numerous CDs that I have never seen in any other American retail store.

I particularly like the initial sight of walking in past the registers and seeing the large sales floor and the many people happily milling about. An enjoyable experience for all music fans.