Reunited, and it sounds so good.

Well-Dressed Prose from Sarah L. Crowder
The real irony of this graphic is that Dalmations tend to go deaf. Sad but true!

I know this doesn’t sound like a life-altering event, but a shelf broke on our CD rack about 10 years ago, leaving a giant crater in my life. Sounds dramatic, right? (Have you met me? Of course it sounds dramatic.)

That event inspired me to digitize my massive CD collection because IKEA no longer sold the replacement shelf, and we didn’t want to replace the entire bookcase. Most of my collection had already been ripped into digital format, as I used an MP3 player back then. I digitized the remainder and gave away most of the physical discs, aside from a small assortment of rarities or albums with sentimental value. Over time, I discovered that I was listening to the same albums over and over again. Even though I could scan through the album covers on the computer, I felt lost without the physical touch and the clack of the CD cases as I flipped through them. Further, even with an MP3 player, I mostly listened to my collection when I was sitting at the desktop computer itself — when I was working.

I gradually lost touch with my music collection. It was there, but I didn’t use it. Huge swaths of my life went silent; I was without a soundtrack for the first time. I listened to podcasts in the car or streamed SiriusXM. I didn’t have enough memory on my phone to keep a lot of music files on it, and I didn’t want to constantly fuss with swapping out albums, anyway. I assume many music lovers with extensive physical collections have similar tales of woe.

And you can’t replace a large, personalized music collection with a streaming service or even a combination of streaming services. Also, why should I pay another subscription fee to listen to what I already own? Are we living in Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, where we have to pay our front doors to enter our own houses?? That man truly predicted “the internet of things.”

Sorry, I digress.

All I wanted was to listen to my own music collection as easily as possible — without paying another subscription fee or using up all of my phone’s memory. The tiniest amount of research proved that this was possible. Simple, even. I just never thought to look! I decided to install Subsonic, which turns your home computer into a “server” that you can stream from any browser. As long as your computer is on and the app is running in the background, you can access your entire music collection. I love it! I don’t have to download anything extra to my phone or laptop, and now I’m listening to all of my music again. It’s an absolute pleasure.

Instead of being bound to my small Bandcamp collection or dodging tracks from The Smiths on SiriusXM’s First Wave station (this is a zero Morrissey tolerance household), I’ve listened to albums I hadn’t thought about in over a decade. I have so much good stuff! I’ve been reunited with the depth and breadth of my music collection, and it feels like coming home.

You may not share the same issue — having a giant digital collection of music you can’t easily access — but I’m willing to bet that you do have a small, nagging problem that a 5-minute web search will solve. I encourage you to look around at the little problems that irritate you the most and do a little digital dive into their solutions. You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

And then you can listen to Beauty and the Beat, the 1981 debut album from The Go-Go’s, which I literally forgot I owned even though it is a complete bop.

Quick Unrelated Note: Bluesky, a social media app similar to Twitter (as it was in its golden age), finally opened up to the public this week. I’ve been on there a while (it’s a blast), so please feel free to join me on the site. No more invite codes needed!

2 responses to “Reunited, and it sounds so good.”

  1. Tanz Avatar

    Sweet, grateful post
    Appreciate the information as well

    1. Sarah L. Crowder Avatar

      I had no idea listening to my music would be so easy. No clue. I wish I’d looked for a solution years ago!

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