Saturday, April 16, 2005

The CD preference list

Warning: Music geek blog.

I am resigned to the fact that I will never have enough music. You might think that sounds funny coming from me, with my many CDs, but the simple fact of the matter is that there will always be more CDs out there that I want to buy than I do actually buy. I have a list of approximately 100 CDs on my "to buy" list, with about another 100 on the "possibilities" list. The latter list are mostly the type of CDs that I would buy as $4 demo discs when they are done their term at Scott's Parable, or CDs that I haven't heard enough of to warrant needing to put on my "to buy" list. This is not to say that every CD on the "to buy" list trumps those on the "possibilities" list, but it at least gives a good starting point for investigating which CDs to buy. But with a list this big, how is it even possible to decide which CDs to buy? Well, there actually is a scheme for deciding. Here are some of the considerations I have when creating my CD preference list and the factors that can cause aberration:
1. Release date: When the disc is released is important. If it's a CD I really want, it automatically jumps in the list upon its release. Recent examples: Demon Hunter, "Summer of Darkness;" Project 86, "Songs To Burn Your Bridges By;" Superchick, "Beauty From Pain." When CDs by my favourite artists are released, they enter the countdown near the top.
2. Availability: A CD that is not commonly available trumps those that are. This factor often comes into play when pawn shopping, in which case a CD that might not normally jump in the order will do just that because of the reality that finding that CD at that price makes it very attractive. Recent example: Chevelle, "This Type of Thinking Might Do Us In." Normally, not an immediate buy, but its availability at the price I bought it for, it jumped up. But if a CD is very commonly available, it does not increase its appeal, unless one of the other factors is at play.
3. Price: Is this disc really worth this price now? Paying $15.99 and $19.99 for the same CD may colour my thinking on whether it is an immediate buy or not. Is it only worth paying $4 for? Will the wait kill me, or can I wait for it to go on sale? Recent example: Third Day, "Wire." Bought it for $15.99 on sale, but also in combination with factor #4.
4. Restlessness: Should I go without this CD any longer? These are often CDs that I wanted to buy upon release that I just didn't get around to, because they were trumped by other factors, or sometimes CDs that have lain dormant for years and I just finally decide it's time. Recent examples: Third Day, "Wire;" Stavesacre - Stavesacre.
5. Concert: The band in question is coming in concert, and I need to brush up or just get their most recent CD. Or I buy the CD at the concert. Recent example: Pigeon John, "...Is Dating Your Sister;" Pigeon John, "...Is Clueless."
6. Aesthetics: Completing the collection is an important factor. Recent example: Third Day, "Wire."
7. New CD syndrome: The band just came out with a new CD, and I still don't have their old one! Time to fix that. Recent example: U2, "October."
***Rarity: There are a number of CDs that are so difficult to find that they do not enter the order. Rather, they remain in the "To put effort into finding or randomly stumble across someday due to dumb luck" list. These, because of their limited availability and the effort required to find them, exist outside the preference list since they would enter immediately at the top. I would not not get other CDs to buy these ones, but if they became available, they trump. Recent examples: Argyle Park, "Misguided;" Klank, "Still Suffering." This is really the exception to the rule.

So here are the criteria I have determined for creating my CD preference list. If I were to have $20.33 (the cost of a CD at $17.99 in SK) to spend on whatever CD I wanted with none of the effects of the aforementioned factors, which CD would I buy first? This means that the rare discs are out, and that the CD is widely available and not on sale and not recently enough released for its street date to matter. I have attempted to craft the list of CDs that in these circumstances would make up my CD preference list. Since it has been enough of a task to get this list down to this, I will not attempt to order them numerically. Here's the list, 10 in total:
Collective Soul - Youth; Emery - The Weak's End; Five Iron Frenzy - Electric Boogaloo; Juliana Theory - Emotion Is Dead; Moby - Hotel; John Reuben - The Professional Rapper; Skillet - Collide (Lava version); Tree 63 - The Life and Times of Absolute Truth; Tree 63 - The Answer to the Question (Extended); U2 - Zooropa.
For the most part, these CDs all have more or less the same priority, which exceeds the CDs not on this list. So theoretically, a CD outside of this group at the same availability and same price should not supercede those in the group, except for those those aforementioned considerations. The reality is that those considerations often do create a hierarchy. For example, until the end of June, the list becomes, in order of prospective purchasing, with the applicable factor(s) listed:

1. U2 - Zooropa: #4, #5, #6
2. Collective Soul - Youth: #4, #5, #6
3. John Reuben - The Professional Rapper: #4, #6, #7

Well, I think that's enough music geek-ocity for today. I will say one final thing though: it is often from this list that it is best to cull gift ideas. These are the types of CDs that require some kind of extrinsic motivation to buy, since there is little motivation in and of themselves. They're great to have, but if something trumps them, they still wait. It's kind of like my own CD priority purgatory. I believe this sort of system is also to some extent governing my "movies I need to see" list, which is ashamedly virtually unchanged since February (see archives 02/06-02/12 for more details on that list). Interesting. And this is great. Now I've gone and made myself want to go buy CDs. Maybe A&B Sound will receive a visit soon...or at the very least Money Express to see what's new. Must


  1. Anonymous16.4.05

    1 Timothy 4:12
    Don't let anyone look down on you because of your YOUTH, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

    See? Even the bible is hardcore for C.Soul.
    *Tongue in cheek*
    God has spoken

  2. How many CD's do you ALREADY OWN, anyway? EEEEEESH.



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