Do you remember becoming a member of the Columbia House Music Club? I hadn’t thought of Columbia House and it’s monthly mailers for years, until I read that they just filed for bankruptcy.

Columbia House
Photo courtesy

Columbia House was my first personal financial obligation. I think you had to have your parents sign the ‘application form’ if you were under 18, and I was probably 14 when I first signed up. The first go round there would be loads of great music choices, then with each successive month there would be fewer choices worth buying. So you’d wind up with albums (yes – albums, or 8-tracks or cassettes or CDs) you wouldn’t normally buy except you had this obligation. Sometimes I wouldn’t even remove the plastic before I’d try to sell the album to the local used music store.

Then there would be the months when you wouldn’t return that little card in time so three weeks later a box would arrive and you’d be stuck paying for a bunch of crap that you might listen to once.

So you’d fulfill your obligation of buying X number of albums and send a letter to cancel your membership.

Then they’d start sending you enticing new offers. “Return to Columbia House and get 12 albums for the low price of $0.01 (plus S&H plus taxes where applicable)”. And the whole cycle would start again.

Last month I signed up for Apple Music. For $9.99 a month I can stream almost any music in the house, my car or at work, and there are no little cards to mail back. And no CDs to litter up my Marie Kondo’d tidied-up house 🙂

That’s progress!


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