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Thread: Fall of the CD accelerating?

  1. #1
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Fall of the CD accelerating?

    Does it seem like the number of people to whom physical CDs have become superfluous is growing at a considerably faster pace now than it was not too long ago?

    So many Bandcamp releases are coming out on vinyl in multiple colors and have loving descriptions, while for one release I bought on Bandcamp recently the entry for the CD simply (and wryly) read “Ye olde CD.”

    I have to admit that while I’ve been buying more of both CD and download/streaming releases since Covid-19 came to town, about 90% of my listening is to streaming services, even if I’ve bought the CD of the release to which I’m listening. Possibly that will change if COVID-19 ever leaves, but I do sort of fear I’m being turned to the dark side.

  2. #2
    This may be completely incorrect, but I kind of suspect that while CD's may decline they will cycle back to being "in vogue" similar to what has happened with vinyl. It will probably never reach the same levels as in the CD's heyday though.

    Who knows?

  3. #3
    On one hand...CDs are essentially read-only copies of digital files and as such, really are just a larger, less flexible container than a hard drive or USB stick. And probably won't have the same long-term collector's appeal as achieved by vinyl of late.

    On the other hand...goddamned cassettes are making a comeback. It's like if the plague became fashionable. So clearly, logic isn't the top player in this particular game.

    As long as there's a market for them, I will likely still be in the CD game. I won't likely be to the same levels as before but it'll always be a quiet passion of mine.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
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  4. #4
    To your initial point Jed...for me personally, the whole market for CDs and physical music in general has receded to such absurdly small levels that it feels like it's already basically at sunset. The days of spending an afternoon hopping between CD stores browsing the selections are long gone; now, I'm lucky if there's a single spot left in the region that has even a semi decent selection.

    I love online shops like Wayside and spend my $$ as often as I can...it's not the same as what was though, browsing the bins and discovering things just based on the cover.

    Aaaaand I'm going to get off my own lawn now
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
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    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  5. #5
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    but I do sort of fear I’m being turned to the dark side.
    You need to hang more garlic wreaths around the house.

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post

    On the other hand...goddamned cassettes are making a comeback. It's like if the plague became fashionable. So clearly, logic isn't the top player in this particular game.
    I laughed and I also agree re: logic.

    I've bought CDRs at shows by bands who don't have a CD release.

    I will not buy a cassette; I saw a band that I liked enough to want to buy something a year or two ago, but they only had cassettes for $8.00. I said, "I'm sorry, but I don't want a cassette"
    They said, "The cassette has a bandcamp code!"
    I said, "Will you take $5.00 for just the bandcamp code" and they said "Works for me". That's the closest I've gotten to buying a cassette in 25 years.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, I got my first demo on a cassette, in 25 years....
    Steve F.

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    To your initial point Jed...for me personally, the whole market for CDs and physical music in general has receded to such absurdly small levels that it feels like it's already basically at sunset. The days of spending an afternoon hopping between CD stores browsing the selections are long gone; now, I'm lucky if there's a single spot left in the region that has even a semi decent selection.
    Going to used CD stores was one of my absolutely favorite things to do in the 90s, and up through maybe 2001 or so. But as my tastes in music became more eclectic, eBay became my "virtual" used CD store. I had something like 20 saved searches that I would run every day for a few years. But times change.

    Maybe Steve or Ken can correct me, but at this point, I think the CD still exists simply because it's seems odd for many artists to sell their music without selling something physical to their customers.

    I think since music became something you could "own" and certainly since the days of rock 'n' roll, no one has really come up with a viable alternative to the physical product that makes people feel like they own something. And when you consider that music has often been considered collectible and that "collecting" is its own pastime, there's something painfully unsatisfying to celebrate your "collection of MP3s".

    But yes, the CD certainly seems that it's at its twilight. My more recent CD purchases from Amazon sit in their shrink wrap since they also came with a download of the album. Now, the one reason I would buy the CD (besides as a decoration) - to rip the files - is something I don't even have to do. The only reason I bought those CDs is because they were part of an artist's CD collection I have, which frankly seems like a stupid waste of extra cash, based purely on the vanity of keeping the collection whole.

    But I usually look at this less through the eyes of insatiable music lovers like us, and more about your average music fan. Assuming they are even paying for music these days, they are probably getting downloads. The ones that are still buying CDs are doing so because they haven't embraced modern technology or don't know any better.

    In the end though, I think for big name artists, back catalogs, and small run indie groups, there will still be some form of physical medium until they come up with a way to satisfy the purchaser that they bought "something" other than digital files. At least that's my take anyway.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

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    Member hFx's Avatar
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    As said, CD's are just containers for digital files and the physical experience of the design is inferiour to that of 10" vinyl sleeves. So it's not probable you can charge very much for a CD, while there seems to be no upper limit for vinyls...
    My Progressive Workshop at http://soundcloud.com/hfxx

  9. #9
    Fall of the CD Accelerating would work equally well as either the title of a prog concept album or the name of an indie rock band.

  10. #10
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    I figure I have 20 years at most to live and hopefully I will be coherent enough to listen to my CDs during that time.

    Good enough for me. Not moving on to any other medium at this point. My vinyl has been gone 5 years, cassettes at least 15, 8 tracks 35 years, and I never had many digital files.

  11. #11
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    Maybe Steve or Ken can correct me, but at this point, I think the CD still exists simply because it's seems odd for many artists to sell their music without selling something physical to their customers.
    I don't think that that is correct. Labels can and do still sell CDs and bands on tour can still sell CDs. And Wayside Music is still here and mostly selling CDs, as is Laser's Edge.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  12. #12
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    I've said it once, and I'll say it again: listening to music on CDs today is like installing software from a stack of floppies 20 years ago.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    I'm reading this thread with a bit of amusement with the posts from the naysayers who know nothing about the music industry but have strong opinions. I guess its always that way.

    We are moving a tremendous amount of CDs - back to the levels we were selling 15 years ago. Clearly related to quarantine fever but it proves that the market is out there. Customers want physical product - CDs and vinyl. We add new customers every day including some we haven't heard from in years. Our average number of sales per day are up significantly.

    Labels are having to get more creative. They are releasing CDs with value added material - bonus discs, art books, special packaging. Fans love it, grabbing it and paying $$$ for it. You want colored vinyl? Sure - tell us what colors. We'll make 'em!

    Show me a major rock or pop artist that passes up a CD release for their album. Overall for the industry CD sales are clearly down. For the "prog rock" market I am confident that its historically down but the curve is nowhere as steep as for the overall industry.

    Bandcamp is a great vehicle for labels and bands to sell digital releases. Many of these independent bands couldn't sell enough product on their own to warrant a physical release. Those that can do. Its as simple as that.

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    Member TheH's Avatar
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    I think I bought about two Downloads in my life, and both where by accident (pressed the wrong button on strange tongues sites).

    Bought 32 CDs this week alone (although this includes a huge box set)...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    I'm reading this thread with a bit of amusement with the posts from the naysayers who know nothing about the music industry but have strong opinions. I guess its always that way.

    We are moving a tremendous amount of CDs - back to the levels we were selling 15 years ago. Clearly related to quarantine fever but it proves that the market is out there. Customers want physical product - CDs and vinyl. We add new customers every day including some we haven't heard from in years. Our average number of sales per day are up significantly.

    Labels are having to get more creative. They are releasing CDs with value added material - bonus discs, art books, special packaging. Fans love it, grabbing it and paying $$$ for it. You want colored vinyl? Sure - tell us what colors. We'll make 'em!

    Show me a major rock or pop artist that passes up a CD release for their album. Overall for the industry CD sales are clearly down. For the "prog rock" market I am confident that its historically down but the curve is nowhere as steep as for the overall industry.

    Bandcamp is a great vehicle for labels and bands to sell digital releases. Many of these independent bands couldn't sell enough product on their own to warrant a physical release. Those that can do. Its as simple as that.
    That is good news. I have Spotify and use it, but I like playing CDs. I rarely do digital downloads, only if a CD is not available and it's not on Spotify or YouTube. The new Blue Oyster Cult album is on its way to my house. It has artwork, info on who wrote the song ,etc. and an actual CD to pick up and put in the player. I like it.

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I don't think that that is correct. Labels can and do still sell CDs and bands on tour can still sell CDs. And Wayside Music is still here and mostly selling CDs, as is Laser's Edge.
    Sure, but I was postulating that CDs are still selling because people are attached to physical product and collecting and not because of the CD as a format itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    I'm reading this thread with a bit of amusement with the posts from the naysayers who know nothing about the music industry but have strong opinions. I guess its always that way.
    We must be reading different threads. I, for one, am just contributing to the discussion and don’t see a lot of what you’re suggesting in the thread. But I’m happy to hear your sales are going well.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

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    I'm strictly a CD guy, and I'm pretty dependent upon brick & mortar stores (and record conventions, which will hopefully make a comeback in the near future). Since I moved to my current location, I've done mail order only once or twice. I live in a neighborhood where things get stolen out of mailboxes. Then there's the Texas heat 6 months out of the year, which would cook anything left in my metal mailbox.

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I love/adore physical product. I'm also a luddite. The only problem I have with CD is space, I have two huge bookcases full - the rest are in large boxes. There are drawbacks, I have order in one of my bookcases but the other is random, like my boxes. There's also box sets. Yes, it out of control!

    I've stream about 4 times in my life.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  19. #19
    The Vinyl Wave will likely be cresting within a year or two (or three) when people realize how easily they can be scratched or cracked or warped with heat or humidity...and when they realize (or remember, if they're old enough) just how freakin' HEAVY they are when it comes time to move

    I've built a nice side-line business of selling CD's online via Amazon and Discogs (and apparently soon will become my main business) - this week alone I've sold close to a dozen discs at $20+ (mostly Classical, followed by Easy Listening artists of the '60s...only occasionally will a jazz or prog CD fetch that kind of money). CD's never seem to get as much credit as they're due - you'd be amazed at how scratched up some discs I've come across that played just fine - some with scratches so deep you can see the light shining through! And let's sing the praises of the jewel case - dirty, cracked, coffee(?)-stained sticky cases replaced with new ones and you've got a virtually mint product again!

    Peter <progerd@mindspring.com>

  20. #20
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundsweird View Post
    Then there's the Texas heat 6 months out of the year, which would cook anything left in my metal mailbox.
    You've got to stop using that charcoal grill as a mailbox.

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    I love my albums but haven't played one in years. I've moved 3 times in the last 7 years so going back to albums is out anyway. I haven't bought many albums since CDs came out. Any album I really liked, I bought on CD. Getting too old to lug this stuff around so the albums may not make the next move. Threw out my cassettes during the last move. My laser discs won't make another move either. My books are getting nervous I haven't made the switch to buying digital files except for when I'm given an Amazon gift card. Still prefer the physical product so CDs it is.
    Last edited by Tangram; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:18 PM.

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    I would think that it depends on the style of music on the percentage of downloads. I donít follow it at all but it seems like prog rock would have more cd sales percentage wise than maybe rap. To me the music world would suffer a lot if it all went digital. Just a speculation. But then 20 years from now it may be all digital. I just sure hope not. I donít buy much music anymore and mostly what I do purchase is classical. I wonder if the percentage of classic downloaded is very small or not.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I've said it once, and I'll say it again: listening to music on CDs today is like installing software from a stack of floppies 20 years ago.
    That's a BS analogy. If you have the infrastructure for CDs, then the CD is vastly easier to use than digital files depending on your use case, and certainly easier than floppy discs were on computers. If you want to invest in the infrastructure to properly render digital files on you stereo, or your car, or whatever, without breaks between songs and without latency and all that crap... good for you. More power to you. But I have a CD player and a stereo, as well as a CD player in my car, and I know how to use them, and amazingly, they work with no internet connection, no hard drive, no shuffling though digital menus, no stupid breaks between song, blah, blah, blah. CDs are 100% functional for listening to music and saying otherwise is crap.

    All that aside, I do see some drop-off in the number of releases available on CD. But I think Ken nailed it. The bands that can afford to do CD do so, and others don't. I wish that number trickled down a bit more to the smaller artists like it did in the 90s. But it's not the 90s anymore, and this is where the hit is really felt. But there's still tons of stuff on CD, and I'm sticking 100% with CD. I utterly hate downloads and wonder why anyone actually likes dealing with music that way (how do you "browse" your collection, on a spreadsheet? Blah!). But if they do, and it works for them, more power to them.

    Bill

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    That's a BS analogy. If you have the infrastructure for CDs, then the CD is vastly easier to use than digital files depending on your use case, and certainly easier than floppy discs were on computers. If you want to invest in the infrastructure to properly render digital files on you stereo, or your car, or whatever, without breaks between songs and without latency and all that crap... good for you. More power to you. But I have a CD player and a stereo, as well as a CD player in my car, and I know how to use them, and amazingly, they work with no internet connection, no hard drive, no shuffling though digital menus, no stupid breaks between song, blah, blah, blah. CDs are 100% functional for listening to music and saying otherwise is crap.

    All that aside, I do see some drop-off in the number of releases available on CD. But I think Ken nailed it. The bands that can afford to do CD do so, and others don't. I wish that number trickled down a bit more to the smaller artists like it did in the 90s. But it's not the 90s anymore, and this is where the hit is really felt. But there's still tons of stuff on CD, and I'm sticking 100% with CD. I utterly hate downloads and wonder why anyone actually likes dealing with music that way (how do you "browse" your collection, on a spreadsheet? Blah!). But if they do, and it works for them, more power to them.

    Bill
    Agree 10000% if thatís even possible.

  25. #25
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    Agree 10000% if that’s even possible.
    +20000.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

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