Back to "best of" page

Bruce's CD Collection and Copyright Rant

Below is a list of all of my 300+ CD's, in order of artist. My ratings system takes into account listenability, significance, durability and originality. The "genre" column is just for my benefit, so if you discover Elvis Costello under "Folk," please don't be angry.

If you would like to have a copy of any of these, let me know the number (on the left) and I'll do my best. You could buy any of these albums (used) at my favorite site half.com, but neither the record company nor the artist would be compensated that way either.

For my argument as to why a certain amount of CD swapping and music downloading is OK, read below and the article referenced at bottom:

It's hard to feel any sympathy with the recording industry because of their extreme greed: Charging $20 for a CD that costs maybe a buck to produce is obscene. Yes, there are valid distribution costs beyond that initial $1, and there has to be some profit built in, but you KNOW there are pricing games going on.

That's why, say, a cassette tape (a complicated mechanical product with several moving parts, multi-step mechanical assembly, slow analog manufacturing process) costs less than a CD (a hunk of plastic and metal foil: no moving parts, no difficult assembly, extremely fast to duplicate digitally): The prices should be the other way around--- cassettes should cost more than CDs--- but the CD prices are artificially jacked up.

In fact, if pricing were rational and based on actual costs, CDs would cost a few bucks, tops. And music via the Web--- with per-unit manufacturing and distribution costs measured at most in pennies (and usually less)--- would cost a trifle. But the music industry wants to maintain the old, high prices because their profits grow in the gap between actual cost and retail price.

Imagine if a music CD only cost $5-7 or so, or if you could download a CD worth of songs for a buck or two. There's still room for profit in there, and I bet CD swapping would almost stop. But for that to happen, the recording industry would have to grow up and enter the information age--- which they are resisting because they can reap much fatter profits by gouging us for $20 for stuff that costs them only a fraction of that.
(c) Fred Langa

Some of this music is out of print and unavailable elsewhere, so nobody is missing out on income if we copy it. Also, if you have EVER purchased this music in any other form (LP, cassette, on another CD, etc.) then you should not have to pay for the same song or album again. I once figured out that I paid for Elvis Costello's "Alison" at least nine times (vinyl, cassette, compilations, soundtracks, best of, etc.)!

The final argument in favor of CD swapping is that it helps introduce artists to a new market. For instance, I never appreciated Alison Krauss until someone gave me a copied CD. I quickly became a fan and have PURCHASED three of her albums since then. Ditto for Barenaked Ladies, Joni Mitchell and others.

Still not convinced? Read this amazing article by Singer/Songwriter Janis Ian (most notable song: At Seventeen). This article caused a firestorm of controversy because it's written by an industry insider and nine-time Grammy Award nominee. It's about downloading, record company greed, and artists' rights, but it all applies to CD swapping as well.

Then decide for yourself if it's right or wrong.

Although it's unlikely that you will be anal enough to have your collection alphabetized, I would love to chat with you about anything you may have to add to my collection.

To view this same list sorted by my personal ratings, CLICK HERE.

2002 bruce hurley