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CD Swap Party - Peter Hentges

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January 26th, 2005


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12:42 am - CD Swap Party
Friends who have attended the Winnipeg Folk Festival and I have talked about having a listening party on the rides back, but said party never seemed to coalesce. In the meantime, people are out there, buying music all the time and much of it I not only haven't heard, but I haven't even heard of it.

So that, and minnehaha's newest rockingness, brought the idea of a CD Swap Party out from my hind brain, fully formed like some Greek goddess:

A correct number of people are invited to the party. This should be a number that allows for a diverse selection of music to show up to the party but not so many that, if the party were to listen to a representative sample of the music each person brought, it would become too long and boring. My current feeling is that a dozen would be about right.

Each person brings three, no more, no less, CDs to the party. They should be CDs that they like and that they think that other people may not have listened to but would like if they did. Some method of identifying each CD so that it can be returned to the owner in the future is encouraged. Alternatively, the owner may choose to make a copy of the CD if they truly can not part with it. The latter is not encouraged, however, as part of the experience of the CD for people can include the artwork and liner notes.

In turn, the order of which doesn't matter, each person introduces one of the CDs they have brought to the party. They may select a representative track to play for the group, but it should not be an overly long one. If a suitable track isn't something the CD has (if it is, for example, something like Alice's Restaurant) a sample of no more than three minutes may be played. Others who have heard the particular album or other works by the artist may offer opinions on such for the edification of the group. General discussion is welcome but should not interfere with someone who is trying very hard to listen to the sample. (With a dozen people bringing three CDs each, we'd have 36 sample tracks, each roughly three minutes long, meaning 108 minutes of music. Round up to 120 for two hours of music, add an hour for discussion and the core focus of the party shoulld take about three hours.)

After each person has introduced one of their CDs, the process repeats until all three CDs of each person have been introduced to the group. When all are completed, the swap begins. This may be as simple as tossing all the CDs into a pile and having everyone pick three to take home or could be a more organized swapping where I'll give you my Let It Be by The Replacements for your American Beauty by The Grateful Dead.

Each person at the party will provide their name, email address and the title of the CD they took home. The host will collect this information and mail it to everyone shortly after the party. Ideally, three weeks after the party would be a "return" party where everyone brings back the CDs, returns them to the original owner and gives their impressions thereof. Realistically, the returning, if necessary, will likely be up to individuals. Failure to return CDs promptly and in good order will not garner you invitations to future parties.

I'm willing to host the first of these sometime before March 14 (when I leave for India). My home may not be an ideal venue for such, and I may not have what audiophiles would consider suitable equipment for listening, but I'm willing to give it a go (perhaps with a smaller group).

I'm interested, however, in all and sundry impressions and ideas about such a party. What would be the pitfalls of such a thing? How might it work better than outlined above? Would you be interested in going to such a party? Do you think it would be fun?
Current Mood: excitedexcited

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:minnehaha
Date:January 26th, 2005 07:29 am (UTC)
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I think this would great, let's do it.

K.
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From:jbru
Date:January 26th, 2005 07:46 am (UTC)
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Very well! Now we need a date. Feb 19 is right out, but is probably the earliest that things could be arranged. So that leaves us Feb 26, March 5 and March 12 as Saturdays. Though, with a fairly well structured process like above, a weekend isn't, necessarily, a requirement.

You are, of course, invited to this one, so are there any days between Feb 20 and March 12 that absolutely don't work for you?

Who else would make good party guests?
[User Picture]
From:mizzlaurajean
Date:January 26th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
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March 12th is our Open House/Reception
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:January 27th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the info! Glad I'll still be in town for it!
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From:sleigh
Date:January 26th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)
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What about this as an alternative for those with the technology. Invite ten people. Have everyone bring their three CDs and also two CD-Rs. Everyone plays a sample song from the album they brought, with commentary -- that song gets loaded into a folder on the host's iTunes.

At the end of the listening session, you'll have 30 songs, about two CDs worth. The host burns a "sampler" of all the music for each of the guests from the two CD-Rs they brought. It's up to the guests, then, to obtain a copy of the whole album if they so desire. (Time to burn 20 CDs varies according to the host's CD burner, but hey, that's when you bring out the food and everyone can just mingle and converse. Would work even better, though, if there are two 'puters available -- you have Sampler A on one and Sampler B on the other, and can burn two CDs at a time... Alternatively, enough guests and respective CDs to get 14 - 16 songs, and have them bring one CD-R).

Advantages: that way everyone can have a wide range of new music to listen to and decide if they like it well enough to search for more. Avoids the problem when half the people there all want the same CD.

Disadvantages: You don't get the whole CD or the liner notes, only the one sampler song.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:January 27th, 2005 05:51 am (UTC)
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Not a bad idea, but I'm not sure it fits my overall goal: to introduce people to groups they may not have listened to before. While the sampler would give you one taste, I would hope that a whole album would allow someone to find more of what they like. That is, you may think a particular track is representative of the band or album, but I might like a completely different one.

Maybe it's just me that wants to see the depth of a group, rather than just hear their hits. My general rule for buying CDs was that if I've heard three songs from an album that I like, I'll put it on my "to buy" list.

On the other hand, I also download all of the iTunes Music Store free tracks every Tuesday, even if they aren't the kind of music I normally listen to. My theory is that a) they're free, and b) maybe I'll hear something that twigs an interest. So perhaps I'll put the question to the party guests and we'll see how it goes.
[User Picture]
From:minnehaha
Date:January 26th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
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I know the 19th of Feb, and the first and second Saturdays in March are already taken. What about a Sunday afternoon or even a weeknight?

I like sleigh's idea about samplers, too.

K.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:January 27th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
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I was thinking along similar lines for the date, the whole swap shouldn't take more than a few hours so a weeknight should work OK, but Sunday afternoon might be a good compromise too. I should pick a date and start building an invite list.

I'm torn about the sampler idea. I can see good things about it, but I also really like listening to entire albums to get an idea about the depth of a new group. So I think I'll put the format of the swap to the group of invitees and make a decision based on feedback.

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