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 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 9:59 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)

In preparation for a move (sooner or later) I am loading my entire (and I mean entire) collection into iTunes.

I should say how lucky I am, having published FSM, to have basically gotten a comped CD collection. Beyond lucky, really. We were on every mailing list and except for some stuff that seems to have walked off—well, there's no way I could have afford to buy all of this.


1) What the heck were these movies? This is particularly noticeable for composers who worked a lot in a period maybe 5-15 years ago, before the studios cut back on their mid-level productions. For example, James Newton Howard scored something called Vertical Limit. It has (alleged) movie stars and was a major studio release—but I couldn't tell you anything about it except that it seemed to involve mountain climbing. Composers like Danny Elfman, Mychael Danna, Thomas Newman, James Horner and Patrick Doyle seemed to have scored dozens of these. These used to be called "programmers." The scores seem as interchangeable as the actors...

2) CDs go bad! I have some CDRs of things that we either created for internal work purposes, or were given to us, etc.—many of them are now unreadable. In fact so are some "real" pressed CDs. Ramblin' Rose by Elmer wouldn't load, nor would the original Intrada Wind and the Lion or First Blood CDs.

3) Too many reissues! I understand having a bunch of Star Wars-related CDs—and a short original edition of a worthy score (say, Total Recall) followed by, years later, the expanded version. But I have three Blue Max releases (and I never had the Varese original)...three Dances With Wolves CDs...three Walk in the Clouds CDs...FOUR Krull CDs...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I am as guilty as anyone for starting this trend (Omega Man 2.0) but really, the labels need to show some discipline and not just repackage the same stuff over and over. I don't know how you guys stand for it. I would feel ripped off, seriously.

4) iTunes is great! I may box up these CDs and never take them out again. Other music in my collection (rock, pop, jazz) I buy, and I prefer downloads. I don't need the clutter, I don't mind MP3s, and I back up my hard drive. I remember having stacks of discs by the CD player that would become a mess until I put them all away—nowadays, I see no reason ever to pull the CD off the shelf unless I needed to check something for reference.


 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 10:35 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

It is so much easier to have all your music on the computer where you can press a few keys and bring up whatever comes to mind or explore a composer with ease. Once you have gone through the steps to digitize everything make sure you back it up and then periodically back it up again. My lossy music is backed up automatically every week (though every two weeks could probably be just as good). A free program called Syncback free is great for scheduling this sort of thing. I have an external hard drive connected to my router that gets the backups when it goes.

Waiting for the CD defenders in 3...2...1...

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 11:10 PM   
 By:   ST-321   (Member)

Best. Post. Ever.

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 11:37 PM   
 By:   Trent B   (Member)

Best. Post. Ever.

Haha I agree!

That sucks some of your CD-R's won't work, Lukas. I assume you took care of all your stuff?

I loled at the whole "Too many re-issues!" section. Maybe because a lot of us have bought re-issues. But hey a lot of them have been worth it.

Either way good luck with the move and I hope you're able to get everything loaded okay. Now hope you have an iPod Classic to put all that music on a device. smile

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 11:38 PM   
 By:   ryankeaveney   (Member)

I've been doing the same thing over the last two years. I'm now up to over 87,000 tracks in iTunes. The CDs are boxed in the basement, and I enjoy a clutter-free home. I never understood the gigantic soundtrack collection people think needs to be on display. It's not like anyone off the street would be impressed!

The best thing about having all that music available instantly? Infinite compilation opportunities!

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 11:50 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

It boggles my mind that anyone would waste all the time to copy their music onto their computer only to use a lossy codec.

 Posted:   Mar 22, 2014 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   RonBurbella   (Member)

I've seen people argue this before here, but I withheld my comments, as others made just the same pro and con arguments as I might have given. Well, I'm in the mood now.

For the generation(s) raised in the computer culture where everything computer is near-intuitive, Lukas, this would seem a natural move....for the MUSIC. And ONLY for the music.

For my generation (60+), the cover artwork, the history and photos in the liner notes, looking at the spine titles to see if I've forgotten that I have a title (a bigger problem as I get older and the collection keeps growing smile), and the convenience of the CD is a no-brainer.

If I want to play 5 or 10 individual selections from 7 or 8 different CDs, I want to put the CD in, program what I want to hear, when it's done pop it out and put in the next, and so on. Unless it's a new purchase, I usually don't play one score from beginning to end...with exceptions, of course.

I may not want to hear an individual cue selection all the way through.

I may want to repeat a selection 10 times in a row and conduct it in the dark with my over-the-ear headphones on. (I can't get those blasted little iPod-type earphones to STAY in my ears unless I sit still like a statue!)

I like to refer the liner notes IN MY HANDS (not somewhere online) as I listen.

I don't live on the computer like people today.

I suppose that repetition makes these efforts easier, but here is a recent example from my continuing misadventures with iTunes.

I like Alexandre Desplat. A LOT, as most of us do.

There is a Desplat download-only soundtrack on iTunes, VENUS IN FUR. I don't particularly like downloads, but when it's the only option I will bite the bullet and buy it.

So I bought it. I put it in my playlist and played it. I wanted to burn it to a CDR to listen in the car and at work. No matter what I could think to do umpteen which ways, the iTunes software refused to "Burn to a Disc." It said I didn't have the software or the hardware to do it. Of course, I had both. I'd done it before with The Assignment Bureau and others, and it DROVE ME NUTS. If I had a regular CD, I wouldn't have to go to a Help file (it didn't help) or call Apple Help (didn't have the time at that time). Now maybe, being the age I am, I can blame myself, shrug my shoulders, and wait until I have the uninterrupted online time to have the nice Apple folks figure out what's wrong. I would guess the younger folks with better computer savvy could figure it out on their own.

The last time I had an iTunes problem, they told me I had a corrupted file and patiently went through the instructions of deleting iTunes and then reinstalling it. You have to do it in 5 separate parts and in an exact sequence or you will screw iTunes all up (so they say). It took over an hour.

The TIME convenience of selecting individual cues from CDs IN MY HAND, rather than navigating various menus and screens, is more appealing to me.

I've always wondered. Let's say you want to play...say...Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic playing Franz Waxman's PRINCE VALIANT...the whole suite.

I would pick out the CD, put it in the slot, and hit "Play." And read the liner notes while I listen to the magnificent music.

What would YOU have to do if you've downloaded it into iTunes? Walk me through the individual steps.

And what is the quality of the music if, say, your wife is not home, and you want to really CRANK UP the volume on your high-end speakers and RATTLE the windows with magnificent music. Is the audio quality in iTunes equipotent to that in a CD?

I could go on, but I've said enough. What do you think about what I've said? I'm sure that I've made somebody mad.

Ron Burbella

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 12:10 AM   
 By:   Senn555   (Member)

It boggles my mind that anyone would waste all the time to copy their music onto their computer only to use a lossy codec.


 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 12:27 AM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

I'm with Ron Burbella. I was not born in the computer age, so I much prefer the physical CD, Blu Ray, DVD etc. for all the reasons Ron stated. I don't have nor buy CDR's because I know they go bad, never had a faulty CD. I have a large home and it is filled with CD's etc. and I love it. I have a first class stereo and surround system and I like my music and movies loud and brilliant.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 12:44 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Is the audio quality in iTunes equipotent to that in a CD?

If it's fed with CD quality files, that's the quality you'll be able to listen to.
If you buy low quality mp3, thats what you'll be limited to.

The files on any of your existing CDs can be transferred directly to iTunes for playback without any loss of quality whatsoever, unless you deliberately choose to reduce the quality to cram more files into the available hard drive space.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 12:45 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

A pertinent post from FSM "Ichi ban" on the current state of consumer audio reproduction.

  • The bulk of CD issues is the infamous "jewel case".

  • CD's are still necessary for very high end playback.

  • I often return to the printed literature.

  • iTunes etc. is the ultimate convenience.

  • Often you are subjected to Apple's wim in many ways.

  • There is an rapid diminishing return for audio quality high definition encoding.

  • Hell yeah! labels ought to show a lot more discipline is their issues, and be respected for the longevity of their issues. My guess they are scared of out doing their future sales.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 12:56 AM   
     By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

    I've never had a CDR go bad over the course of time (unless physically damaged) and I have thousands of them.
    People sometimes think a CDR they burned years earlier has gone bad, when in fact it was a faulty burn in the first place and they stored it away without playing it back at the time to check it. Then they eventually play it and they wrongly assume it has deteriorated over time.
    Never assume a CDR burn is 100% good until you've played it back in full to check.
    Over the years, I'd estimate about one-in-forty of my CDR burns, when immediately checked, have had some kind of error and have required re-burning. If I'd stashed them away without auditioning them at the time, I'd have a lot of duds that are still to reveal themselves.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 1:11 AM   
     By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

    To echo Ron and some others here, I love my soundtracks and I like having them as an accessible physical presence with the art and liner notes. I don't love every track of every soundtrack however, so I've ripped the cues I like to listen to (about 1300 or so) onto my computer, reviewing each in Adobe Audition first to modify volumes where appropriate. (I hate having to keep turning the volume up or down from track to track, and there's quite a lot of variability especially with the older releases from mainstream record companies.) I can listen to them on shuffle in Windows Media Player, or easily throw together CDR comps for car listening. By and large once I've ripped the cues I like from a CD, it goes back on the shelf and the disc is not handled again or just occasionally when I want to hear something all the way through. So all of my discs are pristine, and I don't have piles of them lying around waiting to be put away. Maybe there's something in the smog out there in L. A. that affects CDs, but the only CDs I've ever had that went bad on me were a couple of b**ts (CDRs actually) from Soundtrack Library. Never had a pressed CD tank on me. My 900+ soundtracks and related recordings live in a single rotating vertical CD case which has a small footprint (about 18 inches square, and about 64 inches in height), so I'm not having any storage problems. I keep everything backed up to an external hard drive, but if anything went wrong with the computer and the back-up both (unlikely), I've still got my CDs to source from.

    Obviously Lukas is happy with his choices. They wouldn't work for me, but to each his own, as they say.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 2:26 AM   
     By:   WillGoldNewtonBarryGrusin   (Member)

    I grew up with soundtracks on vinyl.

    What was great: the big sleeves, the feeling of the disc.
    What wasn´t: too often scores remained unreleased, too often they were missing cues I wanted to hear; and most of all: no matter how anal-retentively I treated the vinyl, dust attacked, and beautiful silent passages were spoilt by sudden pops and cracks.

    Then the CD changed all that.

    What was great: no pops and cracks, just pure listening pleasure; more space to fill with more tracks
    What wasn´t: tiny covers, thick jewel cases, taking up lots of shelf space very fast

    Then the mp3 came around.

    What was great: easily to be stored and carried around, super fast access
    What wasn´t: no covers at all, the danger of amassing lots of files and losing sight of what one actually had collected already

    I was hesitant at first. For years, actually. Also, there was this talk about mp3 being "lossy" and fatally diminished sound range. So I sticked to CDs.

    Until my apartment was actually more a place to live for my CDs than for me.

    So I made a change. I pared down my CD collection to the absolute essentials and transferred everything to my hard drive so I could get access quickly, choosing selections for my iPod to carry around whenever I felt like (so much easier than putting tracks on audio cassette and then carrying my walkman).

    Nowadays, I only buy CDs when they are either re-issues by the specialty labels or lavishly collector´s box-sets. Apart from that, it´s mp3 download for me.

    Why? I´m obviously too old to hear the difference between mp3 or flac or whatever. To me, they absolutely sound much better than vinyl ever managed to.

    Also, this way I can encounter so much more music than I otherwise could, due to shelf-space, money (yes, downloads are really much cheaper) and self-preservation.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 2:52 AM   
     By:   Francis   (Member)

    I've been loading my CD collection into Itunes since I first got my mac and do so every time I get a new CD. 192 kb mp3 on itunes is sufficient, I don't feel like ripping my collection lossless because of the unnecessary disk space and I like to transfer them to my mp3 player.

    I stopped burning CDr's for over a couple of years now, I've managed to replace or get rid of all the CDr's I had of OOP scores with the legit copy and all the compilation, database cdr's and dvdr's I tossed out because it was just too much music I didn't listen to. Oh, and in all this time I've had only one CDR go bad, but it was very cheap spindle back in the day, all my other discs play fine.

    Reissues are simple; If there's no reason to upgrade, I wont. I don't get why you would buy the same program twice; that only takes up shelve space. When I see an expansion announced, I immediately list the older version for sale. When La-la announced Creepshow, I put my old one on discogs, sold it and will use the money I got on the new edition. This way my collection is in constant motion and I can keep it from becoming excessive or too expensive. Selling off OOP titles that go for high prices on secondary market, you know will get reissued anyway, helps as well.

    I keep my collection around 500 titles, and when I'll be getting new stuff I always look to see what I can sell off. In all honesty I think out of those 500 I could easily get rid off half of them and still be satisfied. My only completion urge is with Christopher Young, I stopped completing franchises with entries that I just can't listen to. If the music is good, it's a keeper or I will get it. I will say that the majority of scores I own, I do like the movies; the film music would have to be exceptionally good for me to buy a score to a shitty movie.

    I have the space for my collection so there is really no need for me to replace the jewel cases, so I don't mind having them around. Same for my movie collection; I'm now replacing my dvds with blu-rays and so far I've only opened up more space on my shelves. And it's not like I have my house covered in CD shelves, I've been to places where I wonder how someone can live inside what is basically a warehouse smile

    So in conclusion, I do like to have the physical product with a cover, that I can just take out and spend time with (old fashioned probably, but it matters to me). If space would ever become an issue, I'd consider getting wallet sleeves before selling off the collection. As for having a collection on display, I do find that important for myself, not for someone on the street; It's part of my identity and lifestyle which makes the thought of losing it unbearable. smile

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 3:39 AM   
     By:   Thor   (Member)

    Yup, I did the same thing a couple of years ago. I "only" had about 1000 CD's at the time (including all the non-film music too), which is peanuts compared to some of you, but it still took me a couple of weeks to get it all transferred.

    I hardly ever play CD's anymore....the CD rack is basically just a piece of furniture that tells people something about who I am.

    I've acquired approximately 500 albums or so since then that are purely downloads.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 4:19 AM   
     By:   Mr Hand   (Member)

    I am as guilty as anyone for starting this trend (Omega Man 2.0) but really, the labels need to show some discipline and not just repackage the same stuff over and over. I don't know how you guys stand for it. I would feel ripped off, seriously.


    That's the way I used to feel, as a collector. But in the end, I am happy to be able to purchase scores I missed out on previous incarnations (recently, The Blue Max by La-La Land). And it would be sad not to reprint previous limited editions, as I hope the film score fanbase is not static and some newcomers are discovering this field everyday. In the end, I think all the labels'work will end up in digital form only one day, and it will then be available to everyone anytime, except if marketing succeeds in creating some false sense of scarcity (by the way, I'm still waiting for Jurassic Park 20th Anniversary here in Europe *sigh*).

    On technical matters, I went down the same road by ripping my entire CD collection a few years ago, and I immediately rip my new CDs as well. It is very time consuming, so my advice is to rip to a lossless audio format. That way, you will be able to convert to any present or future other audio format suited to your habits without ever returning to the CD source again.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 4:26 AM   
     By:   Mr Hand   (Member)

    I've acquired approximately 500 albums or so since then that are purely downloads.

    I started to acquire some albums on pure digital too. Not so many in the end, mainly because booklets are often missing and the physical CD price is regularly lower than the digital one.

    However, I buy without question when the audio is offered in HD quality, even if the upper price bugs me when dealing with new recordings natively engineered in HD.

    One huge positive point of digital is the ability to re-release obscure catalogue titles at reduced costs and near-zero risks. For exemple, I was happy to find long out-of-print solo albums of Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann. Too bad the big labels aren't uploading their catalogue more quickly.

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 4:43 AM   
     By:   Mr Hand   (Member)

    Composers like Danny Elfman, Mychael Danna, Thomas Newman, James Horner and Patrick Doyle seemed to have scored dozens of these. These used to be called "programmers." The scores seem as interchangeable as the actors...


    I generally prefer the scores of this era over the sound of current big-budget Hollywood films. I'm becoming old, I guess...

     Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 5:47 AM   
     By:   ScottDS   (Member)

    I've never seen Vertical Limit but yes, it involves mountain climbers. I think Martin Campbell directed it - his first movie after GoldenEye. That is the extent of my knowledge on the subject.

    (You want a programmer? Volcano is on HBO2 here on the east coast. Tommy Lee Jones just asked, "What's magma?" Sheesh!)

    So far, I've only had one CD go bad on me and it was a Prokofiev "Favourite Orchestral Suites" CD released by Philips.

    As for reissues, I agree with the folks who say that certain albums should always be available (see the Intrada thread). I missed The Blue Max last time and was glad to get it this time.

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