The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

Our Gen X CD Problem & The Value of Spotify Premium

spotify premium road trips

When we were packing up to move cross-country and getting ready for our 4-day road trip, one of the biggest questions we had was whether or not to keep or donate all of our (holy 90s!) Case Logics full of CDs. Should we spend the time ripping them & saving digital copies to a hard drive, then sell the CDs online? Should we just pull out the hard-to-find music (like friends’ now-defunct bands) and mixtapes, and donate the rest to Goodwill?

Trivial, I know, but music is important to us (especially to my husband) and it was a major point of contention. Gen X-ers out there, you feel me? I mean, when we started buying CDs in the early 90s, they were like $20 a piece — lots of babysitting/ice-cream-slinging jobs — so donating them just felt like throwing money away, even though most music is available online for free.

In the end, with everything we were going through with Dante, we didn’t have time to do anything but bring them with us — taking up precious packing space in the car, and 90% of the road trip we just listened to Spotify Premium through our Bluetooth. We pulled out maybe five CDs the entire four days on the road, in parts of Arkansas where the corn fields were plenty and the cell towers few, but we haven’t looked at them since — the Case Logics are more valuable as weights for our broken-down moving boxes in the garage than anything else. (That Fantastic Mr. Fox soundtrack, above, however; most recently came in handy as an ice scraper…)

So, I’m officially saying goodbye to all our CDs this weekend, and though it feels like the end of an era, the ease and portability of music without the clutter — and the ability to have playlists for parties or road trips readily on hand wherever I may roam — is well worth the $10/month.

Follow me on Spotify (user name Stealfinder) if you’re already a member, and if you aren’t I seriously suggest signing up. The basic version (with ads) is free, but Spotify Premium also offers a one month free trial so you can see for yourself.

Here are a few playlists to make you a convert like me, including an awesome mixtape my husband made for me when we started dating in 2003 that I just made into a Spotify playlist. Just click on the links (for the Spotify web player) or cut & paste the codes below each playlist intro into the Search box (in the Spotify app) to add the playlist to your profile.

Andrew’s 90s Hip-Hop Mixtape
When we randomly pulled out this unlabeled CD somewhere around Texarkana, it was like the music gods were smiling down upon us. Especially if you’re a Gen X-er like us, these tunes will bring back so many fond memories of high school cruising and college clubbing. 90s hip hop is arguably the genre’s best, and this is an expertly curated collection from one of its biggest fans.

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Radio BDC’s Top 100 of 2013
As a contributor to, I regularly stream Radio BDC live while I’m writing, and this Top 100 list of most-played/most-requested songs was just begging to be made into a playlist. While making dinner with my sister and her college friend during the early January snowstorm, we popped this into Spotify and found that 99 of the 100 songs were available for free. It kept us bopping around the kitchen through four scratch-made courses and two bottles of wine — more indie rock faves than Billboard pop hits, it was gangbusters with even the most ardent music snob in the room (no names!).

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The Max Martin Oeuvre of Pop
If you’re looking for a playlist with more mass appeal for a party — or just some new jams for your marathon training/New Years Resolution-fueled workouts — here’s a playlist of all the hit songs written by Max Martin, a producer with number ones to his name for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, the Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, N’Sync, Taylor Swift, and more. (Read all about Max Martin in this fascinating Celebrity Net Worth story.)

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I’m totally addicted to making & sharing playlists & mixtapes now, so let’s connect on Spotify. As soon as I can find a working tape deck, next up are my lacrosse bus mixes and skating psych tapes! I’ll probably make a playlist soon of all my favorite songs/bands from the Austin City Limits music festival last September, too…