Izzy Bryars on the importance of reuse and upcycling your old music and gear
Don’t get me wrong, I love slipping my headphones on and queuing up my favorite playlist. There is something completely different, however, about turning on a record or firing up an old Walkman.
When I came across the old Sheryl Crow CD my mom would always play in the car, the very act of putting the scratched but loved disk into the slot produces flashbacks. You just don’t get that same feeling opening Spotify!
Not only is music timeless, it’s also sustainable. When we aren’t using records, tapes, or equipment anymore, we can donate it or give it to someone else. We can also rely on analog and physical equipment when technology fails or the internet is down—a modern life inevitability. On top of this, America’s increasingly large wealth gaps make it more and more difficult for many to afford the latest technology. And while someone can’t afford the new iPhone alongside Spotify every month, they could maybe swing a thrifted CD player.
In the digital age, listening to a record or tape on a stereo system is outdated to some, trendy to others, and more and more unheard of to younger people. That doesn’t mean however that the physical form is dead, and we shouldn’t treat it as such. Physical consumption of music is far from irrelevant as its capability for reuse helps keep music alive.
Music and the equipment to play it can be donated. No matter who you are, chances are that you consume music in some way. When we donate any used goods, we give them the chance of a second, third, or even fourth life. Not only does donating music equipment give new life to the machine, it opens up opportunities for more people to listen to music. By donating used equipment, you could provide the stereo speakers someone uses for family dinners, the favorite record they couldn’t find, or the karaoke machine a child will grow up with.
Music equipment can also be repaired and restored rather than discarded. By fixing up an old stereo or donating a gently used cassette player, you could bring decades of listening joy to others.
It seems like things get outdated quicker and quicker the more technologically we advance, but that doesn’t mean we have to forget what came before. There are still countless reasons not to disregard physical media and music equipment, including the countless people who still rely on it to consume art.
I will always cherish the memories I associate with physical media, whether it's my mom’s Sheryl Crow CD or picking out the new Adele album for my 12th birthday. I keep some records and CDs for nostalgic purposes, and I admittedly have shifted mainly to digital, but there will always be a place in my life for physical media. I’ve given a lot of it away, but happily; just because I’m done with it doesn’t mean someone else is.
Want to help out?
Join us for Re.Use.Full UN-DUMPSTER DAY in KCMO! October 7th from 9am to 1pm at GEHA Field 1 Arrowhead Dr Kansas City, MO 64129 Gate 3 lot L
C4RM will be on site to accept music related donations of still-good recordings and equipment. Other local nonprofits will be on hand to accept a variety of items more info here