Old School File Trading

I’m writing up here this brainstorm that I had. With luck, maybe someone will take it and run with it.

I have on occasion checked out CDs from the library. Sometimes, I put those in a computer with RealJukebox or iTunes and ripped those things to keep afterwards. I realized not that long ago that if my goal were to do a lot of that, it would actually be much more efficient to take my iBook to the library, rip the CDs I’d like to keep and leave. Since it takes around 5 minutes to rip one with iTunes, if I spent an hour or two I could get a big pile of new music that way. As I understand it, this is all unimpeachable use of the technology. There is no problem with me making a copy for personal use, even of a CD from the library, as long as I’m not sharing the subsequent files.

The brainstorm is this: one could very easily use Meetup to arrange a local “Old School CD Share.” A group of people meet at a coffee shop or other similar place – preferrably one with free WiFi so the CDDB information can be automatically accessed. All bring laptops and some of their CDs. The group passes CDs around the table, ripping whatever they want. With Meetup, it would also be easy to request specific ones and get folks to volunteer to bring them. In fact, a really organized group could arrange distributed purchases such that people are buying a few CDs and the whole group gets the music.

Here’s the wrinkle I would add, because it fits in with my musical philosophy. I would ask that every person that is involved brings at least one oddity, something obscure that they are “championing” to the group. This would be something that you personally love, but no one else probably would have heard of. In my case, this would be something like Paul Melancon or Glass Eye. The rules would be that everyone must, in addition to the blockbusters, rip and sincerely give a listen to at least one CD championed by someone else, and every person must have a championed CD ripped. This means that everyone gets exposed to a little new music and everyone gets a chance to spread music they like to new people. In the best case, you also bring a little literature or at least an URL for your championed bands and this results in some new sales for them.

So, I’m curious to hear from readers. Does this idea seem as good to other people as it does to me? I’ve noticed something similar happening spontaneously at work, when we lend each other CDs. I no longer listen to the CD, instead I just rip it and hand back the physical disk to the owner in a couple of minutes. This is how I found out about The Siderunners, a group I have now in my iTunes and that I really enjoy listening to. Can anyone see actually doing this?

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.