There is something about being a ‘collector’ that would not be satisfied with digital replicas, much in the same way that the routine (?ritual) of listening to an album is a very different experience on LP than even on CD. There is something about flipping through 12" spines, gazing at the covers, smelling the paper and vinyl, handling the album, perusing it for surface dust, gently laying it down on the platter and then gently lowering the stylus that can never be recreated by tapping at icons on a screen. This rich experience is somewhat lost on CD, and entirely lost in an electronic database.
Asking a rabid collector to digitize his collection and stowing away the physical media is like having a stamp collector simply scan his/her collection and thinking that the near perfect visual reproduction can substitute for the loss of other sensory interactions.
If I had 20,000 CDs I would take a month off, and spend most of the day actually listening to what I have, rather than try to supplement the collection. This would also be a great time to snap up a CD555, which can be had rather inexpensively these days, and leave streaming for less formal listening (and maybe even set it on ‘random’ as a way of rediscovering what is already there).
The physical act of doing 20,000 error free rips is also a daunting task, especially if it is close to 1:1 time.
If I wanted to write something deeply personal and introspective (which is sort of what listening to your favorite music can be), I would use a high quality fountain pen that has a certain permanence and part of the writers soul in the letters. But for a technical paper I would use a keyboard anyday.
And the ability to change songs, artists and albums instantaneously somehow remove the solemnity of the selection process and the need to listen to the passage all the way through. In the days when I had listening sessions with an equally impassioned listener we would put an album on from the start, and listen all the way through, without even exchanging a word, as what we had to say paled in comparison to what Miles Davis may have had to give. The times when I have shared streamed music we seldom listened to more than one track per album.
I however do not think that CDs will be a current format in 50 years, as they get discontinued in favor of streamers, and once maybe 80% of music is purchased as downloads, there will be little incentive to release new titles, unless there is a vinyl-like resurgence. But CD players do not have the longevity or easy serviceability as turntables (nor do they have the golden age audiophile mystique), so when the final one is made, there format will become extinct in a decade. And by then conventional hard drives will have gone the way of floppy disks.