What Do You Do With 1000 old CDs?

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When I was 15, I received my first CD player. It was a Christmas gift from my parents and, for a huge music lover like moi, it was about the greatest thing that ever happened. Within 48 hours, I’d purchased my first two CDs: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Greatest Hits and Metallica’s “And Justice For All.” Today, I still have these CDs in my possession.


After those two initial CDs came countless other artists. The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Marshall Tucker Band, Pink Floyd, just to name a small, small handful. Over the next 20 years, my CD collection grew from two…to over 1000.


I am quite sure that those close to me saw my collection as a waste of money. After all, by the time I’d graduated college, there was thousands and thousands of dollars invested in music. And I truly mean “invested.”


See, for me, music wasn’t just something I enjoyed. It was therapy. It was the development of life skills. It was something that helped me cope. It, in no small part, always gave me some sort of enjoyment when everything else in the world seemed like crap. It’s well documented in my memoir, “After This…” how the words of Bob Dylan gave a foundation for rebuilding my life after I lost my sight. But, it wasn’t just that profound Dylan quote: “Negativity don’t pull you through…” that helped my overall life. It was also the following, just to name a few:


“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”

-Simon & Garfunkel


“You’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above”

-Bruce Springsteen


“It don’t do no good to get angry, so help me, I know”

-John Prine


See, this is just a small taste of the positive messages of music that helped me deal with the horrors I was going through. These few words also helped make me into the person I am today. I owe a huge, HUGE debt of gratitude to the artists and musicians and music industry that helped me learn these lessons.


In the late 90s, we started to see the death of CDs. Not of the music industry, but digital downloads and MP3 players and, a few years later, iPods, meant that music was more accessible and cheaper than ever before. In Around 2005, I stopped buying CDs. After all, there was a newer, better medium for acquiring music. Now? I still listen to a ton of music, but I listen digitally through the iPod on my iPhone, through Pandora and Sirius XM Radio. And what’s to be done with this collection of 1000 plus CDs I acquired in my youth? THIS is the question.


I haven’t listened to CDs in close to five years, so there’s obviously no reason this much volume should be taken up in my home. Still, it’s hard to part with these investments. Financially, it’s a tough pill to swallow, buying CDs at $15 apiece and now selling them for, what? A buck apiece? But even harder to part with is the emotional investment. While I probably SHOULD have seen psychiatric health experts for years following my loss of sight, I did not. Instead, I got therapy from music. That’s hard to think of giving up these days. So, what’s to be done? Honestly, I’m not 100% sure.


So, here’s the story: if you know anyone who would like to purchase these CDs, let me know. Marcus@MarcusEngel.com or 314-852-4494. I hope someone can find as much help and enjoyment from them as I have had.

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