In one form or another, I’ve had an eye towards preserving my CD collection long term since 2003. Back then, my process was pretty complicated; now, it’s fairly simple. The principle is pretty simple: get the music off of the CDs while preserving their package and state. I’m okay with CDs only being played a handful of times, as I’m more interested in the packaging and getting all the bits.
Here’s the process:
- Scan the release into Delicious Library. This works for purchased CDs only, of course. Concert recordings don’t go in here, as I didn’t pay to take ownership of them. I put things into DL so I can loan them out and know who has what. Also, I have this as a record for insurance purposes.
- Check MusicBrainz for the release. Every so often, I have to go and add the release, but I’m an auto-editor.
- Rip the CD in Apple Lossless. I’d use FLAC for maximum interoperability, but Apple only uses their lossless format for iTunes, and as I use iTunes Match to move music onto my iDevices, I knuckle under and use their format. I don’t see it going away anytime soon, so I don’t feel like I’m investing time ripping into a format that I won’t use. When I compare this to the 3-4 different lossy encodings I used from 2003-2011, it’s not a big concern. Now that I have two large HDD arrays, I really don’t worry about storage space.
- Run the rip/encode through MusicBrainz’s Picard tagger.
- Add in the highest-quality cover art I can find. I really should be making my own with the scanner I have, but I’m lame.
I’d put in lyrics—and I care about that in a theoretical way—but there’s little practical value in doing so.
That’s where I’m at these days. I don’t see this methodology changing much given that I’m using a stable lossless codec.
Derek Webb wrote on Wednesday of the benefits of giving music away. He is one of the principals at NoiseTrade, a service that does just that, so you would expect that he believes in the concept. Here is a choice quote from the link, which you really should read if you care about the business of music:
If someone buys my music on iTunes, Amazon, or in a record store (remember those?), let alone streams it on Spotify, it’s all short-term money. That might be the last interaction I have with that particular fan. But if I give that fan the same record for free in exchange for a connection (an e-mail and a zip code), I can make that same money, if not double or triple that amount, over time. And “over time” is key, since the ultimate career success is sustainability. Longevity. See, the reality is that out of a $10 iTunes album sale, I probably net around a dollar. So if I give that record away, and as a result am able to get that fan out to a concert (I can use their zip code to specifically promote my shows in their area), I make approximately $10 back, and twice that if they visit the merch table. I can sell them an older/newer album and make approximately $10 back. The point is, if I can find some organic way to creatively engage them in a paid follow-up transaction, I increase my revenue 10 times on any one of these interactions.
I’m a fan of Mpix‘s photographic products. I’ve gotten good results with every single order from them, and the prices are within what I would expect to pay. For display purposes, I really like the standout: your photographic print mounted on gatorfoam, banded as you like, ready to hang.
I clumsily knocked one of my standouts off the wall the other day, ripping the hanger out from the wall in the process. I’ve got to re-hang it, so it made me think of what it takes to hang them. I’ve learned this by trial and error, but you don’t have to do that. Here are the steps you’ll want to use:
- Measure the standout. In my experience, all of the standouts are short in both dimensions, just like dimensional lumber. The 11″x14″ shown above is short by 1/8″ in both directions. This will let you set up an envelope.
- Regardless of size, the edges of the hangar holes are 2″ in from the corner. Note that this is not the hole center but the tangential edges of the hole.
- The hangar holes are 0.5″ in diameter. You can do the math and say, “So that makes the hole center 2.25″ in from each edge, right?” Indeed it does: circle gets the square!
- From there, it’s like any other picture-hanging extravaganza: find a level, determine your placement, mark a level line, mark your holes.
- When it comes to hanging, don’t use a traditional nail or picture hanger. I’ve had the best success using push pins. Standouts are really light, even both of the 24″x30″ ones I’ve bought and hung. Four push pins are going to do a great job. You can also do some tweaks to get the fit that you want by skewing them toward or away the corners of the standout. Because the head of a push pin is closer to 0.25″ in diameter, there is some play in the placement.
Hopefully this helps you. If you’re really generous and/or like Andrew Osenga, help a brother out and buy an 11″x14″ standout like what you see above.