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The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Physical media will never die and is a better option

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Emanuel Espinoza
Staff writer Emanuel Espinoza displays a portion of his personal collection showing physical media isn’t dead and can be preferred over digital versions. Some of these items were recently bought online and are hardly found in stores.

It’s no secret that we are in a digital age where people can consume media through digital means such as streaming, buying video games digitally and reading e-books. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t mean the original forms of media are obsolete, nor does it mean that having a digital medium is better.

When looking at physical media as a whole, whether it’s a movie, video game, or music album, they are like an archive all on their own. If one doesn’t want it anymore, they could trade it in at a store like Amoeba, a Bay Area resale mainstay, or sell it online.

If you “own” something digitally, again, you’re paying for a long-term rental and once the server runs out, you no longer have it.

Having internet access could only get you so far. What would happen if you want to watch a movie but your Wi-Fi isn’t working due to severe weather conditions, like the storms we had here in Sacramento last winter?

Or if you want to watch a movie but it’s not streaming anywhere? Not to mention that streaming a movie on Netflix or Hulu, or listening to music on Spotify or Pandora, is like a glorified rental more than anything at the end of the day. On the other hand, something as simple as putting a disc inside a player isn’t obsolete.

The sad part about all of this is retailers such as Best Buy have been dwindling in physical media since the latter part of the 2010s. According to an article from The Verge, Best Buy stopped selling compact discs in 2018. Early next year, they will stop selling DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K discs altogether.

The odd thing about this is that while Best Buy will phase out carrying movies, they will still carry video games in their inventory, according to an article from USA Today.

According to an article from Media Play News, Target has also dwindled down their physical media sales. Sure, one could find a physical copy of a video game there, along with a DVD or Blu-ray of a movie they would want to buy.

However, when it comes to music, while some CDs and vinyl records may be present, their selection is often limited. It’s hard to believe that at one point, retailers used to have a bigger selection.

Sure, when iTunes first came on the scene during the early-2000s, it became more common to buy and download music off the internet. But that didn’t kill CDs as they were still being sold in retailers even into the 2010s and now.

Even with vinyl’s resurgence from the last decade, record companies have not only released vinyl records in retailers but also limited editions. According to an article from Vulture, owning your own media is coming back in style with vinyl being “the format of choice for audiophiles.”

Some like to look at cover artwork and some also like to have the copies on display on shelves. Digital media doesn’t work for collectors who like to have the physical copy of a particular medium. They like to organize and group some forms of media together. Also, if a collector wants to recommend said form of media, they could let a friend or family borrow it. You can’t do that with a digital copy of something.

Sales for physical media may have declined over the years, but they are not dead.

There are still some benefits of owning media in a physical form. You won’t have to wait for something to come back on streaming. You won’t have to worry about your server being down if you want to watch something.

At the end of the day, physical media is still better than digital media.

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About the Contributor
Emanuel Espinoza, Staff Writer
Emanuel Espinoza is a staff writer for the Connection newspaper. He joined the Connection to get back into journalism and to see about opening up more opportunities in that field. His goals are to gain more opportunities in the journalism field, do more with photography and wants to write for entertainment publications related to music, film and video games. He enjoys reading, going to the movie theater and other types of shows and is a fan of hip-hop.

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