When I work at my computer or write at my desk, I like to listen to music. It's in the background, blocking all those other sounds that distract me. Music is my "white noise" while I work on projects.
Sound quality matters to me.
Recently, I reimported my favorite CDs into iTunes because, back in the day, 128kbps was what my hard drive could hold, and I skipped so-so tracks back then. But, the tracks sounded "tinny" to me with better headphones, earbuds, or via the home stereo. At 256kbps I can't tell the difference between the CD with these tracks with headphones. (Maybe it is my age, but I doubt anyone could tell the difference unless sitting in a silent room.)
I opted against ALAC / AIFF for now because of space. Yes, I have that many CDs and I'm not always connected to the interwebs. If we someday buy a RAID system, I'll migrate my music library to lossless files formats. Even then, I'd only reimport the music I listen to on a regular basis, as I come across discs that I liked a lot.
Completeness matters, too.
I don't like "holes" in my music library, not even if an album by a favorite band was only okay. There's something about missing a CD that bothers me, like missing a book from a series. Bands and musicians evolve; if you're missing one album, you're missing part of the complete story of that musical evolution.
My CollectionMy tastes are not that unique for someone born in the late 1960s. Being raised during the 1970s, I appreciate what might have been the most varied period popular music. Give me the Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd. I also appreciate surf rock, with the guitars and drums. There's a uniformity even researchers have identified within 1980s pop that lacks the complexity the previous three decades. Yet, I admit that 80s pop with its synthesizers and drum machines is comfortably familiar. The "New Wave" and "Post-Punk" sounds of The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Police… everyone knows the 1980s KROQ playlist.
Celtic, classical, jazz, techno, pop, and metal — I own a bit of everything.
Music reminds of people, places, and events in our lives. Each CD I own means something, a connection that compelled me to add to my collection.