It was this year, during NFL Conference Championship weekend when I finished a project that I had started several years before. I finally cataloged my entire CD collection by year. No longer did I have tons of plastic cases that attracted dust like the blinds in my living room. CDs were tucked inside plastic sleeves in two binders that could now be filed away in a bookcase. Now what?

I took a long look at what music meant to me. As a kid, I loved vinyl albums. I have memories of holding huge album covers and tugging the albums out from the inside delicately like they were fine china. But when I really got into music, vinyl became like 8 track and was pretty obsolete, only found in garages, except for the hardest of hardcore music fans who will probably always hold onto theirs. CDs were easier to keep around and sounded clearer. I grew up in the CD era of music. Now, as an adult, that CD era for me might be over.

After loving the fact that I didn’t have plastic CD cases floating around the living room, I decided that it was possibly time for me to stop buying CDs entirely and focus my attention (and money) solely online. Being that I don’t even own a true CD player any longer, it seemed like the smart idea. Would I miss CD covers and the booklets that come with liner notes? Would I miss going into music stores and carousing and getting lost for hours? Sure I would. But would I really miss the music medium that is the compact disc? I don’t think so. With all of my music now on my computer and iPod, it seemed that all along I was already making the transition. It wasn’t going to be hard at all.

In an article that I read in The San Jose Mercury News (via The LA Times), a report by the NPD Group stated that 48% of teenagers didn’t even buy one physical CD last year. Now, I’m not sure how the data was gathered, since I know that many parents buy CDs for their teenagers, but still, that number was mind blowing to me. Also, according to the report, iTunes is also now the second biggest music retailer in the US, behind only Walmart. That speaks loudly to me. For instance, my kids recently fell in love with Alvin And The Chipmunks because of the movie that was released to theaters late last year. They decided that they wanted a few of the songs from the movie. I gave them the option of picking out one song each, and had to spend only two dollars to calm their chipmunk appetite. I didn’t have to pay $15 for an entire CD of sped up voices that would probably be overkill in a few days. To me, as a customer, that’s efficiency at it’s finest.

I know that many music heads will probably never go fully online because there are still things you can’t buy on iTunes that you can find as gems in the 99 cent bin at a music store. And I’ll never be a fan of illegal downloading. But I think more and more folks are thinking of leaving the plastic CD cases behind and going full time to the computer like I just did.

I’m interested in what others think about the topic. If you have an opinion about it, please drop me a comment below.