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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Burnt out of playlists

Reminiscing on an activity technology has eliminated

When Apple decided to get rid of the CD drive in their laptops a few years ago, they did more than eliminate the ability for people to watch DVDs or upload music onto their iTunes accounts. By getting rid of this tool for burning CDs, Apple completely virtualized its media-sharing service.

We all remember making CDs for our friends, crushes or even our parents to play on long car rides as a way of sharing our music with those around us. We even decorated blank CDs and bought colorful slips to put them in. While this fun activity hasn’t been completely eliminated — avid fans of the CD can still buy external disc drives — most people have adapted to the CD-less life. Now, the idea of burning someone a CD might seem archaic when streaming websites have playlists and other ways to share music. However, when reflecting on the not-so-distant past, the act of burning CDs seems to contain a more personal aspect than is attainable via the computer screen.

Josie Kamida, a fourth-year psychology and history double major, misses decorating the CDs that she would make for her friends.

“I used to make mix CDs for my friends in middle school and high school and draw little decorations for the album art,” Kamida said. “Once Spotify came out and computers didn’t come with CD drives anymore, we pretty much all switched to playlists, but my car still only plays CDs. So it’s fun to dig the old mixes out and remember all the songs we were listening to at the time. I think it’s a lot easier to have a physical object when you’re making a mix for someone.”

Ilya Shrayber, a third-year design major, made the effort to buy an external CD drive because of how much he likes making mix CDs.

“Mixtapes have always been relevant to me, solely because of my incessant need to romanticize things,” Shrayber said. “A mixtape is a labor of love, one of the few things I find in life that I have to be completely invested in while making with no distractions whatsoever. The act of listening to a CD that someone made for you is also a labor of love because you have to find a CD player, sit there and listen to it. I think mix CDs create such a beauty in having to pay complete attention to something someone made for you.”

Stephanie Daniloff, a fourth-year communication major, still keeps the old CDs that friends have made for her even if it’s harder to find a way to play them.

“Making mix CDs used to be the best way to share music with friends in middle school and high school,” Daniloff said. “I remember my freshman year at Davis someone burned me a mix CD of a bunch of their favorite songs from a certain artist and that was cool because I hadn’t gotten a mix CD in a long time.”

Each mix CD holds a special memory as one can remember the context in which it was given to them.

“It’s still really cool to hold onto because, especially when the CD is decorated, it brings you back to the memories and moments associated with the songs.”

While playlists still carry the sentiment of music being curated for another person, many people have reflected upon missing the personalization and physical nature of mix CDs. Maybe the future will bring a synthesis of both, but for now, we exist in a realm where some have moved on, but many still remember and miss the mix CD.

Written By: Rosie Schwarz — arts@theaggie.org


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