To summarize my last post: the compact disc is obsolete technology, I'm moving all my music online, but it's discouraging to think about all the times I've had to do this.
The other reason I hesitate with the task is the sheer labor of it. I recall just a couple of years ago when I got energized to preserve a lifetime of photographs in digital form. Energized for a month or two, until I realized that each of several thousand photos would require about three minutes or longer to scan, tweak, and store -- and working with old negatives or slides, the results would still be far from perfect.
I've done enough research to know that digitizing music is easier and quicker than film; I can probably get the job done in two or three months in my spare time.
But there remains the Sisyphean nature of the process. My music will now have been reborn at least four times in various formats. Each time looked like it would be the last. Digital music looks perfect now, but I'm sure that in ten or fifteen years or less, there will be something to replace it. Maybe in future, we'll have some little chip embedded in our brains at birth. Is updating even worth the effort, or should I just be happy with the radio?
Doesn't this whole process imply that a whole lot of modern living is no more than just keeping up with "stuff" that we own? And in that case, do we really own it, or does it own us? It's hard to deny that the material culture, usually interpreted in American society as progress that benefits us, at the same time also has its costs, both in money spent and in quality of life.
We each make our own judgment as to where we want to be on that scale. Certainly our affluent society pushes us toward the higher end - buy that 100-inch television, that new car, or that new house! And perhaps it's only as we age that we begin to consider more seriously the choices we have in that regard: Digitize your music collection but let the photos rot. Trade in your three-year-old car or keep it for a decade. What's important is to recognize we (most of us anyway) have such choices, and not to allow ourselves to be swept willy-nilly into the maelstrom of acquisition for its own sake.