Yet another New Year’s resolution, no more CDs or iTunes

I’ve got a handful of New Year’s resolutions, most of which I’m not going to tell you about.  They’re really not resolutions, as much as 2007 goals.  I do these at work too, and run them by my business parters and senior managers.  I figure if you don’t want the  boss to go off on a tangent and make your life difficult, you can get your shot at least once year when he asks you what he should be working on this year.

So I made up some personal goals for the year which mostly consist of tracking our money in different ways and starting to do those computations about when we can retire.  We’re not close to retirement today, and we sock away the maximum every year, but it’s helpful to actually see the end target point 25 years before you get there, so you can do something about it if you don’t like where you’re going to end up.

The one goal I will tell you about has to do with stuff.  As in, I have too much of it.  Sarah went on a tear (which I approve of) this month and started trying to get rid of stuff we don’t need in order to lighten us up.  One of the first candidates are books.  Typically I’d just as soon give the books to goodwill, but Sarah noticed that some of them are being sold for a decent amount of money on Amazon.  So she started listing them.

$1,400 net profit and 160 books later, I think I know what I want to do with my book collection.  Then I started eyeing our CD collection.  I thought, hey, that’s just sitting in the attic.  Typically I buy a CD and rip it and put it in a box in the attic, keeping it on our server.  Or I buy it on iTunes.  And all this so I can put it on my iPod.   Seems like an expensive hobby, doesn’t it?

A few months ago we were playing cards at Matt’s house (where I totally cleaned him out of money, wine, and whiskey), and he showed me his Rhpasody music service.  The interface, compared to iTunes, really blows.  But as I looked at our books flying out the door, and our cash building up in our Amazon account, I thought, I wonder how good the Rhapsody collection is?  I started looking through our CDs to see what they had.  And the answer is, they have almost everything we’re currently buying.  Suddenly $15 / month for a Rhapsody compatible device sounds pretty good. 

The crux moment came when we were watching the Ricky Gervais HBO show, "Extras" the other night.  The closing song is a short Cat Stevens tune.  I suddenly had a craving to listen to some Cat Stevens.  Well iTunes would happily sell me a greatest hits album, but now I own the freaking thing.  Why not just use the service to download all the Cat Stevens I want, and then next week, when I have a craving for a new or old band, do the same with them?  Why burden myself with all this stuff?  You don’t own stuff, stuff owns you, says Tyler Durden.  I get less stuff, I get more freedom.

And that’s my goal for 2007.  I’m going to buy less music, and sell back as many of my books as possible.

For my iPod replacement, I’ve tentatively settled on the Creative Zen V Plus.  This is particularly ironic, since I predicted a year ago that Creative was doomed in the mp3 player market.  And here I am buying it.  Little did I realize that someone was going to produce an all-you-can-eat music service with everything.

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