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Sunday, October 14, 2012

My latest web obsession

So, what am I listening to right this moment? I’m glad you asked.

Right this very moment, I’m listening to 200 More Miles by the Cowboy Junkies, a double live album that came out in the mid-90s but which I only recently picked up. Actually, I got it for free, in the mail, when someone sent it to me. Cool, right?

I can hear you right now: “Dave! Tell me more!”

So, okay, my latest web obsession is this site called You can probably figure it out from the name. Basically, people join the sit in order to mke a list of all their old CDs that they no longer want. Once they’;re posted, other members can claim them (or, if they are listed already on their Wish Lists, the claim is made automatically). Once claimed, the person posting the CD is asked to print out an address label to the person who has requested it, wrap it up nicely so it doesn’t shatter, and drop it in the mail. Once the person receives it, s/he marks it as received. At that point, the sender gets credited with having sent it, and then s/he can request a CD from any other member. Hey presto—socialism at work, or something!

So, it’s not exactly free. In addition to the original cost of the CD, you need to pay postage to mail it, which will be roughly one or two dollars, depending on how much packaging you use (and therefore how much postage you need). Plus, the SwapaCD site charges 49 cents per transaction—that’s how they make their money. So, two to three dollars altogether. Is it worth it? Sure.

So far I have received the Cowboy Junkies record, plus an Oasis album (Heathen Chemistry), and I have a handful on their way—Ziggy Marley, Astroqueen, Vivaldi flute concertos, Carmina Burana. The site is great for swapping out old stuff you never listen to anymore for new stuff you might listen to a bit. It’s not good for stuff you absolutely must have right away—there’s quite a wait for popular titles, and even if the disc you want is available immediately, you’re still at the mercy of the other person to get it in the mail, not to mention the Post Office who needs to deliver it. (I’ve been waiting for Astroqueen for two weeks; it was mailed from Maine and should’ve taken five days at most.) But still, there’s much more fun than not-fun about the site, at least so far. And hey, if you want to stock upn on old Norah Jones albums, you’re in luck—there’s something like 156 available copies of her first record, so, no waiting for you!

The other potential negative thing is that you’re at the mercy of the sender as far as the condition of the discs goes. So far, the two I’ve received have been pristine—they look brand new, like they were gifts that just didn’t do it for the sender. But I’ve been told by others that CDs can run the gamut, condition-wise, from brand new to unplayable. Of course, there’s an option on the site to say “I received an unplayavble disc” and then you won’t be charged. But it’s not fun, I imagine, when it happens. Fortunately for me, it hasn’t happened yet. We’re all in the same boat, right? We all want stuff to be in good shape.

So I encourage everyone to go join. The more people there are involved in this thing, the more records there will be in the mix, and the more to choose from, and the shorter the wait for what we all want. Woo-hoo!

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