Compared to most people I know, I was very late to the digital age. I probably buy about 50 albums per year, on average. 2007 was the first year that I purchased the majority of my music via online stores (mostly eMusic), rather than in physical format. No, I don't scour P2P networks to find new music. I realize that music (and media in general) is headed to an endless open and free aisle via file-sharing networks, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

Something has been lost in this transition into digital music files. First off, as we all know, record stores are virtually gone. There are a few cool indies that remain, but most physical music is sold in shitholes like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. These places are not havens for music fans. They don't have listening booths. They don't have separate sections for singles, vinyl, new releases, music magazines and so forth. See, these are the things that I miss. I grew up with places like Compact Disc World, Ramsey Books & Records and Soundtracks. Every time I stepped into one of these stores I knew that the creative world was lodged on endless racks right in front of me. There was so much to find, so much to discover. I miss these places immensely.

Most of my friends have abandoned their CD collections in favor of iTunes libraries and hard drives to back up all of their music. Their CD collections are either in books in their closets or they've been given away. Once again, I'm not ready.

This weekend I looked at my two massive, unorganized CD racks and mulled their future. I mean, I have all of this music stored on my ipod. And my ipod connects to my stereo. Saturday morning I hopped out of bed and knew what to do. I pulled my entire collection off the two shelves and began to stack them. In alphabetial order. This took me about four hours. When I was done, my collection of about 2000 CDs wasn't tossed into boxes, but rather placed back on the racks neatly organized and ready to be scoured.

I spent most of today listening to CDs. I read the liner notes, skipped around tracks and dedicated 30-50 minutes to just one album, by one artist. I didn't have a "shuffle" button or a "playlist". I just had my collection and there was plenty to choose from.

This won't change anytime soon.