Where can I donate a large number of classical CDs?
February 23, 2021 6:15 PM   Subscribe

We're talking 1000+ discs, unsealed but in pristine condition. There are American and contemporary composers in the lot as well. I would like them to go where they would be useful, but don't have any real preferences beyond that. Ideas? Specific leads?
posted by DrGail to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
well, libraries come to mind. I bet the kind of folks who still have CD players like libraries. Classical radio stations.
posted by thelonius at 6:37 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]

My Friends of the Library org accepts CD donations, and classical is a lot of what we are able to sell. If you're in the Boston area let me know, but otherwise, I'd suggest a Friends organization that does fundraising. Otherwise, I think a lot of those "donate books" places accept CDs, too.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:49 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

Way back when I was a student (sometime during the War of 1812 if I recall correctly) the university music library would periodically take donations of scores and recordings and sell them for some ridiculous price like a quarter. But the local friends of the public library as suggested above would probably be easier and more reliable.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:04 PM on February 23

I would imagine many new music teachers would be grateful to have them in their classrooms (and are also able to rip copies and then share with other music teachers).
posted by raccoon409 at 7:20 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

If you don't find a library, college radio stations? Especially ones with active classical shows.
posted by beyond_pink at 7:20 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

Old-age homes, assisted living communities, or senior citizen community centers, ideally in less wealthy areas. (Who's likely to own CD players and love classical music?)
posted by trig at 7:49 PM on February 23 [10 favorites]

College music libraries might be happy to have them. Individual professors at music schools might also be interested; I'd start by emailing some university libraries. It would be helpful if you had a list of titles/artists, but understandable if that's too much to bother with.
posted by daisystomper at 7:57 PM on February 23

posted by melamakarona at 3:38 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

For whatever melamakarona doesn't take:

Some of the sellers of cds on Amazon marketplace are non-profits who thereby raise money for their charitable activities. Random example: GoodwillBooks. If you look around in your area you might find some such who will take the cds and put them to good use in that way.
posted by bertran at 4:43 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

College music librarian here: please, please, please do not donate these to your local institution of higher education without a) asking them first and preferably b) confirming that they have an active Friends group that is still able to host used-book-and-other-physical-items sales, or anticipates being able to do so again soon and has the storage space to hold the items until that time.

My library and many others like it are no longer acquiring, and indeed are systematically de-accessioning (that's "throwing out") physical media because the technology to play them is rapidly being phased out; they take up space; and students -- especially distance/remote students -- vastly prefer streaming media. Donations of materials like this are "free as in kittens" in that they require staff time and expertise to sort through, decide what to keep (likely none of it), catalog and process what is kept, store what remains, and dispose of it responsibly.

I'm sorry that's the reality that we face, but it is. A local retirement community is a creative alternative that I'll have to keep in mind the next time someone brings us a box of their "treasures."
posted by spamloaf at 5:57 AM on February 24 [9 favorites]

An NPR station with classical music shows? (Call and ask first, of course, in case they already have too much and it would be a burden.) The host in Wisconsin Public Radio's pledge drive the other day was talking about looking at their shelves of classical CDs (and some vinyl) for the classical requests shows.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 6:55 AM on February 24

(Like melamakarona, I would love to be able to pick through such a collection myself.)

Your best bet for getting them to someone who will love them may be to find a record store that still does a significant volume in CDs. Many are only vinyl and cassettes now! Your profile says you are in the Chicago area, so I imagine you do have something local. Otherwise, there are online options like The CD Exchange or even Decluttr.

I know you want to donate, but think of it this way: it is hard work to match music, especially obscure or less popular music, to the right home. A bulk donation runs a high risk of much of the music getting landfilled. By selling cheaply and taking a tiny profit, a broker may be able to afford to “re-home” more of the music.

The other thing I can think of is—do you have any music teachers in your extended social network? I know a lot of band directors, elementary music teachers, and such from college, and a lot of them would jump on the chance to expand and diversify their classical collections.
posted by musicinmybrain at 6:58 AM on February 24

I can't imagine them bringing anyone any more joy than listeners in a nursing home or assisted living.
posted by Miko at 7:33 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]

I would second Miko, my wife works at a number of nursing homes and the music therapists were very happy to take hundreds of our CDs, they had lots of CD players, and CD technology is much easier for for the people who live there than non-physical music.
posted by FungusCassetteBicker at 8:10 AM on February 24

Best answer: The Internet Archive sprang to my mind. Here's their page on physical donations.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:44 PM on February 24

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