For the newest installment of 360°Sound’s CD Junkies series, we caught up with collector Brendon Snyder. The 44-year-old architect runs a popular YouTube channel in which he regularly posts videos about his favorite CDs, new releases, and more. Snyder, a Florida native who has lived in New York City since 1999, has been collecting CDs for 32 years. It all started when he got his first CD for Christmas, Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood. He’s been a CD junkie ever since.
360°Sound: About how many CDs do you have?
Brendon Snyder: I’ve got over 9,000 CDs. During last year’s lockdown, with not much else to do, I finally did a count which totaled 9,279. That was quite a shock for me. I thought I was hovering somewhere around 5,000. Turns out I was really off the mark. But that count was over a year ago so it’s quite possible that I’ve surpassed 10,000 at this point. I’m almost afraid to find out.
So many things! First, the size. CDs are so much more manageable than vinyl. Also, the ease of operating. I grew up with cassettes and always hated the fast forward and rewind part. CDs let you skip right to whichever track you want. Also, with a remote, I can skip around without getting up and having to adjust the needle on a record. This is not to say I don’t like vinyl. I have nothing against it, I just prefer CDs.
Also, there is so much more available on CD than on vinyl, cassette, or streaming. So much music is missing on streaming services. While I enjoy the immediacy of streaming, and I do have an Apple account to stream, I will never give up my CD collection.
Tell us a little about your decision to start a YouTube channel and the CD content you provide.
It’s actually all due to a co-worker of mine who regularly saw how much music I buy. And while he was not into the same kind of music as me, he always wanted to know what I bought. He would constantly tell me I should start a YouTube channel to discuss music. Initially, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in hearing me talk about music but as my channel suggests, I was wrong. I created the channel just over a year and a half ago, and it’s grown considerably in that amount of time.
Initially, I started out predominantly doing new album reviews and unboxings. But I’ve branched out into creating series like “Music News Roundup,” where I collect together all the latest music news from the past week and “What’s That You’re Listening To,” where I provide a rundown of the bands and artists that I’m currently listening to. I also do “New Music Finds,” where I discuss all my new music purchases from the past week. There are “Album Rankings,” “Top 10 Countdowns,” and “Best Of” videos as well.
Ultimately, I really enjoy being able to use all of the music knowledge I have gained over 32 years of CD collecting for something like this. And because of creating the channel I have found out how many other like-minded people there are that still enjoy CDs.
I gather that you’re a rocker through and through. Who are some of your all-time favorite rock bands?
Yes, having grown up in the ‘80s, I’ve always been a rocker. I’m a huge fan of the late ‘80s glam metal era and bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, Cinderella and Poison. But at the same time, I’m also a huge classic rock fan and love bands like ZZ Top, Aerosmith, KISS, and AC/DC. Then there are the prog-rock bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Alan Parsons Project, as well as heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth.
What are some of your favorite box sets and deluxe reissues from the last few years and what made them so special?
I love a good box set or deluxe edition if it has rare and unreleased music included. That is the key for me. Most recently the new Tom Petty Wildflowers and All The Rest box set is my favorite. I picked up the super deluxe edition off the artist’s website because it featured a bonus disc of unreleased material that wasn’t available anywhere else. But I also like the reproductions of memorabilia that gets added into these deluxe editions. I’m a sucker for a reproduction tour book or some item that was used to promote the album at the time that would be super hard to find today.
One of my all-time favorite box sets is from Bruce Springsteen for the deluxe edition of Darkness On The Edge Of Town. For the packaging, they reproduced a spiral-bound notebook that Bruce used to write lyrics and song ideas in during the making of the album. That became the packaging that houses all the discs. Unique packaging ideas like that which also tie into the artist and reproduce something so personal is exciting to get as a fan.
What are some labels that come to mind that are currently doing great CD releases in terms of packaging, liner notes, artbooks, etc.?
One of the best reissue labels out there is Rock Candy Records. Not only do they find great lost gems to reissue, but they also reproduce the original album art to a very high degree. In addition, the booklet includes a highly detailed history of the band and the making of the album. Great sound quality, well-produced art, and liner notes make all the difference. An album can be so much more when its packaged really well. I wish more labels would take note of how Rock Candy Records does it.
Lastly, what do you think of the future of the CD? Do you think it could see a revival like vinyl has? Are you concerned it will die out?
I don’t think the CD will ever fully go away. Give it time and people will be nostalgic for it, too. Just look at how cassettes are starting to be released again. I’m more concerned about places that are eliminating CDs and how hard it is to find places that sell them. My greatest fear is that one day Amazon will stop selling or drastically cut back on CDs. Given it’s the only online retailer that has such significant stock and wide variety it would be a shame if it were to be taken away. Music fans and CD collectors like myself would be lost without it. A sad day if it ever comes to pass. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen and the CD makes a comeback before that can occur.
Amen, Brendon! Thanks.