5 Reasons why CDs are still better than MP3s

We have entered into a modern age where CDs are fast following the route of the LP record, and becoming obsolete. The MP3 is fast replacing all physical forms of music, but the question remains, which is better? We are not referring to pirated MP3s here boys and girls (that’s still a big no-no; all bands need your support and financing, especially if they are local), but more of a reflection of the difference between albums bought in the physical form versus the digital platform.

Here are 5 reasons why CDs still kick an MP3’s butt.

1. Quality over quantity

It is common knowledge that CDs provide better audio quality than their MP3 coded counterparts. MP3s are compressed versions of the original song on the album; in order to compress them, something must be lost, this loss is audio quality. The highest bit rate that most MP3s can come in is 320 kbit/s whereas CDs have a bit rate of 1,411.2 kbit/s . We won’t go into too much detail here, but think of it as a mother giving birth to twins; one ginger, and one brunette; both are her children, but one has a much better quality (forgive us, we couldn’t resist).

2. The full effect

You wouldn’t try pick up a girl/guy based only on what they sound like on the telephone (phone-sex hotlines aside), so why would you decide to pick your favourite album based only on what you hear? The music of an album is only part of the experience that artists wish to portray. The liner-notes and artwork that accompanies an album is essentially a key ingredient to understanding and perceiving the full effect of the album’s message. There is nothing more satisfying than putting on a brand new CD and reading through the lyrics and the sappy thank-you’s as the album smashes through your speakers.

3. “What if I hate an album?”

If you don’t like a new album, you want choices. Choices as to how you can vent your displeasure with it. If it is in MP3 format, the best you can do is give it a low rating in your music library, or alternatively you can delete it, hardly a satisfactory way to show you disdain. However, if you have the actual CD, you can get a far greater sense of satisfaction. You can play some office Olympics with it (skeet-shooting in public is frowned upon, but frisbee is more than acceptable), or perhaps snap it into tiny little shards and then tap into your creative side and try and to create a sculpture like this:

A while back, one of our readers did just this, you can see his artwork over here.

4. Meet and greets

Nothing freaks me out more than girls (or the occasional guy) that meet an artist, and have nothing of worth to get signed by said artist (breasts don’t count here. I can’t believe I just said that, but I did, accept it and move on), so they settle for a handshake or a hug instead. They then spend the rest of the evening running around screaming how they will never bath/shower again in their lifetime. That ladies and gentlemen is nonsense. Get something signed. Get something tangible to prove you had such an encounter with an artist.

Unless you plan on taking your entire computer tower with you to get signed, there is no way that an MP3 will ever bear the physical cattle-brand of the artist you met. Take a damn CD with you.

5. “Would you like to come up for coffee?”

There will never be a situation in this world where the line “would you like to come up and see my MP3 collection?” will work on any guy/girl. Best you have a real CD collection to impress them with. Make it big, just to be on the safe side.

- Wayde Flowerday

Written by Wayde Flowerday

Wayde is a student at the University of Witwatersrand, doing his Masters in Economic Science. When not hitting the books he can be found at live shows; drinking energy drinks and being a potential liability. Find him at @WTF__FTW

  • Simon P

    Awesome article!
    Re. destroying bad albums, one word: microwave!
    Re. Cover art: I still can spend hours looking at the Americana album…so awesome!

  • Wayde

    I haven’t tried the microwave yet, but I will keep that in mind when the next Nickelback or One Direction album comes out.

  • Jerry

    Good, timely article. Sadly, too many cds have little/no liner notes or lyrics. Public Image Ltd and Ravonettes new cds are examples. Artists and companies need to recognize that we value those parts of the music experience.

  • Wayde

    Hi Jerry.
    Yeah, that is also true of a heap of albums nowadays, and it really is a pity. It is something that will always remain central to your experience with an album, I for the life of me cannot understand why artists and labels neglect this.

  • JasonD

    Ah yeah I miss my CD collection.