Franco, you make a good point. Those who have been ripping bit perfect & storing all along have not had as steep a hill to climb in switching away from disc. But if one has a large library of discs, the time sink of getting them all reliably ripped and stored can be daunting. There are services that will do it for you, but that can add up.
As the quality of internet streaming has improved—and might continue to do so—it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone just getting started, or deciding to switch from discs, to resist the economic advantages of streaming subscriptions. Even though they may seem “expensive,” how many (even here) can afford to own all music they might enjoy? Let’s say Qobuz costs USD$200 annually (the average between their two high quality plans). Over twenty years, that’s $4k. Now, instead, if one bought two discs per month, even cheap ones at $12 and not MoFi or AP SACDs, that’s $5,760 over the same period, and you own 480 discs out of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of pieces of music.
I may be missing something significant/obvious/trivial in all this, but to me, the benefits of subscription rental far outweigh permanent ownership. I say this as a guy who owns over 5TB of music and enjoys tinkering with the computer audio aspects of the hobby. There are other considerations:
- Will Qobuz/Tidal survive? Who knows. Something with higher quality than current Spotify likely will.
- Internet streaming requires decent bandwidth internet. Duh. That is likely only to get cheaper over time, but it can fail. If the internet is down, the hifi is quiet. One could Airplay from local storage on phone or tablet. Or one could still maintain local file storage of the discs one already owns.
- One does lose out on the enjoyment of the physical media, whether LPs or compact disc jewel boxes (ugh). That’s a storage/organizational headache I do not miss. YMMV.
- If one is willing to take the risk of internet outage, though, one could completely forego local storage and any costs and headaches associated with it. It’s an exceptionally simple model, and with dCS components, playable with exceptional accuracy and musicality. Getting that same mechanical, “clockable”accuracy out of silver discs I suspect is going to get increasingly more difficult/expensive.
Just some thoughts.
P.S. I agree with Chris. But the lawyer in me feels compelled to remind myself and others that, when you sell your CDs secondhand, you also sell your legal right to retain any ripped files. Ergo, subscription.