Why I’m Buying Physical Media in 2024

Posted on March 25, 2024 by Aywren

Like some of you reading this, I grew up in an age before digital music, video games, and streaming content. I was used to collecting game cartridges, VHS tapes (later DVDs), and music CDs. I’m a bit of a pack rat, so most of the physical media I owned through the years, I still have.

However, as things have moved more and more to the digital age, I’ve been somewhat content to move with this change. I get my music and movies from streaming services. My PC library is now made up of almost all digital games – be it from Steam, GOG, Epic, etc.

One area I’ve never fully went digital was my Nintendo Switch.

While I do pick up indie games from the online store, that’s mostly because these games are only offered in digital format. Even some of the bigger name (but older) games – such as Final Fantasy 7 through 9 – are only available through a download.

While, yes, I know some of the physical games still require a download to patch and update, my thought process has always been that buying physical saves space on my Switch’s memory card. Even though I have a large one, and space isn’t a huge deal, I still prefer to pick up a cart, especially for larger games, when I can.

Forced Digital Age and the Confusion of Streaming Competition

As of late, we’ve had more and more news where gaming companies are trying to push players into digital only – even completely removing the ability to use disk media at all. It’s gone as far as to see Best Buy stop selling physical DVD movies – even online!

I think that was the wake-up call to me. While I’m not a huge DVD collector or movie watcher, I could see the writing on the wall. It’s time to grab a hold of what physical media I want while it’s still out there.

I also ran across this interesting YouTube video that discussed the chaos that is current day video streaming services. It talks about how it’s now harder to find what you want to watch when you want to watch it because content is now strewn across so many different services.

I hadn’t thought about it, but this is true.

Not long ago, I was on the hunt for specific old movies that I wanted to watch, and couldn’t find them on Prime or Netflix. I’m not usually one to hop on a subscription for a month just for one title. So, I ended up going to Ebay and buying a brand new, never opened, physical copy for less than the cost of renting or buying it to own on Amazon.

How to Get Music CDs (And DVDs) for Cheap on Ebay

Right now is a hay-day of super cheap physical media. After setting up my retro stereo system and diving back into my existing CD collection, my interest for buying and collecting old CDs has returned.

This began due to the fact I was looking high and low for a CD by a little-known band that I swore I had, but couldn’t find. When I looked up the cost to buy this CD on Amazon it was a shocking $51.99 (at the time of this writing) – while you could stream it on unlimited or buy the music files for $9.99.

I wanted neither. I wanted the original physical CD, since I owned all the other CDs this band had recorded.

So, I went to Ebay. And guess what?

I picked up the CD for less than the cost it would have been to buy the digital music files! Yes, it took time for the item to arrive through shipping, but I was very pleased.

And that began my new hobby of shopping for music CDs on Ebay. As long as the CD or DVD isn’t something rare, you can often find them from $3-$5 each.

And here’s something cool I learned – some sellers actually bundle music CD and DVD sales with a Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal. These CDs often have free shipping, too, so the only additional cost is tax!

You just have to look for something like this in the listing search:

And then again on the item listing:

Do be careful and click through to see what items are eligible for this deal. The Ebay interface for this can be a little wonky sometimes, but there’s usually a pop-up that lets you know if there’s some catch.

Depending on the seller, they might note that the items that are eligible for the sale need to be under $4 or something like that. You also won’t see the free item factored in until you’ve put all your items in the cart and go to check out. So just take care.

I can confirm that these sales are legit and that I’ve sometimes bought 3 CDs for $10-$11 with shipping factored in!

Yes, these are older CDs and preowned. Most of the CDs have come in good condition (though jewel cases may vary), and I haven’t had an issue with a scratched-up disk or a CD that wouldn’t play.

The only snag I ran across is a case where someone sent me the wrong CD (the one they sent was by the same artist, but was the wrong title). I contacted the seller and they resolved it very quickly – when they couldn’t find the CD I’d actually bought, they just refunded me (it was something like $3.50), and let me keep the wrong CD. I turned around and used that refund to find the same CD for a slightly higher price at a different seller – but still under $4.00.

You might wonder how they’re selling these CDs for so cheap. I’ve noticed on some of these CDs, there are still sticker tags where the seller has bought the CD from some other liquidation store, I’m assuming. Most of them have been $2.99, but one of them was as low as $1.99.

So, marking them up to $3-$5 actually gets double their initial investment back. In the end, it’s still quite a steal for me, too. Just know, again, you probably won’t find rare or unusual CDs or DVDs in these Ebay sales bins, but you might have fun shopping for your physical media on a digital storefront.

*|* {March} *|* {2024} *|* {IRL} *|*