A few months ago, my Honda Accord lease was up. I shopped around for a few weeks trying to negotiate the best deal I could get on a new Honda. Most people hate the task of having to buy a new car or find a new lease. It can be a nightmare for most people. However, I always remember that scene in the movie Fargo when William H Macy’s character tells his customers to hold on while he checks with his boss if he could give them the deal they wanted. What he really does, is goes to another room, talks about a football game with one of his salesmen and then goes back to his customers and says “Wow, well he’s never done this before.” He continues to rip them off, lying through his teeth.
That scene from Fargo has always inspired me to fight with everything I got when negotiating a new car deal. My recent car shopping spree was brutal, but in the end, I prevailed with a much lower price at the last dealer than was offered to me at the first dealer. When I drove out of the Honda dealer happy that I got a great deal, my joy was completely ruined when I got home and realized there was no CD player in the car. For the past thirty years, every car I have purchased has had a cd player in it. I did not think to ask if the car had a CD player. It did not even cross my mind. I Immediately called the dealer and complained that there was no CD player. They responded by saying Honda had stopped putting CD players in the cars about 2 years ago. The salesperson thought it was funny that I was so upset over having no cd player in the car. Frustratingly, I asked if I could get one installed even agreeing too pay more. I was told that the new computers installed in the Honda dashboards do not allow for CD players to be added. I visited an aftermarket car stereo store and was told the same thing.
Car dealers are moving on from CD players. Honda is one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world. However, it’s not just Honda that has ditched the CD player. Kia, Toyota and Ford have also stopped placing CD Players in their cars. The argument that most car manufacturers make is that they need space for the bigger screens. Car manufacturers are adding big screens in their cars, so drivers can stream music from Pandora, Spotify and Sirius radio. Apple Car Play has become the next big thing allowing drivers to stream their music from their iPhones. USB slots are being added so that people can play music from MP3s on USB sticks. Although this may seem good on paper, once you start trying to use this technology while you’re driving, it becomes increasingly frustrating. Try finding a band or song on a USB stick while you’re driving a car. Or watch how Pandora or Spotify freezes up because the Internet connection is no good.
I tried putting some of the music from my computer onto a USB stick. The Honda would only play about half the songs. I soon discovered that my Honda would only read certain MP3 files from the USB stick. Any music that I had burned into my iTunes as Apple lossless files could not be recognized by the Honda. Additionally, If a file has a dot before the name it doesn’t recognize it. I was told it’s easier just to stream your music from your iPhone. Well my iPhone can’t store thousands of CDs on it. I used to enjoy just pulling a CD off my CD rack and popping it in my car. Now if I want to listen to a CD I have to burn it on my computer, place it on a USB stick and make sure that it is an inferior lousy sounding MP3 format that can be read.
Maybe I am just an old fart who grew up buying music on records and CDs and cannot fully transcend myself into this new world of digital only media. I like to purchase music on CD or even vinyl. I don’t download music off YouTube for free or try to find internet sites that allow free downloads. I want to look at the artwork of a CD cover as I place the CD into my stereo. I want t to see the names of the songwriters responsible for the songs I am listening too. I want to know who played the guitar solo on the second track. I want to smell the paper insert. Ask anyone who has brought a Led Zeppelin, Beatles or Pink Floyd Box set if they would rather trade in all that great packaging and incredible sounding remastered CDs for a folder of mp3s of the same material.
Many people complain that many major artists are no longer putting out music, or there are no great new bands anymore. Well, people need to be paid for their work. If no one is going to buy the album, why make one? It is horrible what has happened to artist who have seen their music being stolen off the internet. Just think about the artist who spent years working on their craft and all the time they spent writing and recording music just to see it now being stolen from YouTube or streamed and downloaded on multiple official services for less than a penny a song.
It has been frustrating seeing stores like Best Buy and other big chains take ninety nine percent of CDs out of their stores. It’s been sad seeing so many great Independent CD and Record stores close down for good. Thank goodness for Amazon, at least we still have a place to buy CDS. Nonetheless soon we are going to wind up with no devices to play CDs when our original CD players break down. Since the car manufacturers are no longer placing CD players in the cars, how long will it be before electronic manufacture stop making CD players?
The CD format was the greatest musical format ever invented. No other musical format that succeeded on a mass scale was able to reproduce such great sound as a CD. Of course if the DAT format had taken off, we would have had a format with an ever better frequency response. However, it still was a tape format prone to issues. Vinyl, 8 tracks, reel to reel and cassettes all have a limited frequency response. listening to the sound of a great mastered CD is comparable to nothing else. It’s sad that so many people who have grown up in just the past 20 years do not realize that. They have grown up listening to horrible sounding MP3s not realizing just how great that music could sound on CD. Now, they will never know as the CD format seems destined to be buried in that great 8 track cartridge cemetery.