It wasn’t one of the most exciting things I have ever done, but I have just about finished ripping all my CDs onto hard drive. Something close to 40GB of the stuff. It took a long time but it has been worth it for a whole number of reasons.

Firstly, and unexpectedly, it has allowed me to rediscover hitherto undiscovered gems hidden in the collection. Sticking the whole lot on shuffle is even more fun that it ever was.

Secondly, I have freed up a LOT of space in the living room. Two cupboards are going and will be replaced by a small, metal box the size of a small, metal box. And the attic will have gained a few large boxes of CDs. Next, I need to get one of these and I’ll be flying (until such time it’ll be me and Sennheisers at the laptop).

It does make you think though. If you can reduce that much furniture to a small box. You can surely reduce an entire record shop to a kiosk or whole in the wall. No doubt someone, somewhere is already thinking about this. You can get an album at 192kbps easily into 128MB and a 128MB USB pen drive costs about hee-haw these days. So, why not pitch up at a machine, stick in your pen drive, stick in your debit card and walk off with any album you want? Its not as if this is some space age fantasy from the Jetsons, its all very possible now. Which makes you think there must be a strong commercial imperative not to do it. Obviously, you could argue that this is just a slightly less elegant solution to what can be acheived by downloading and that is, in many ways, true. And companies clearly want the cross-sell/window shopping aspect of retail space. But why not the best of both and have a ‘download kiosk’ in the shop itself?

Obviously, you can’t ignore the tactile pleasure of buying a thing. Not that CD’s have ever got anywhere near buying vinyl.

This also leads on to another digital media concern. I have 40GB of music on my hard-drive. If my hard-drive went phut, I would be annoyed but I could retrieve it all again from the attic (or my backup). But what if I have 40GB of downloads that all go south and I haven’t backed up? I may have missed something but this is something that I don’t think the ever-increasing downloads industry has addressed. Perhaps one way round this (other than telling people to back-up more) would be to have a download service that remembers what you have bought so that you have the right to download it again for nothing. Does that exist? If it doesn’t it should. Obviously, it wildly open to abuse so that’s probably why it doesn’t exist.

One day I’ll start one of these posts with a little more of a coherent point. Maybe not.