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Is the CD Becoming Obsolete?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the fading-into-the-long-tail dept.

Media 645

mrnomas writes "What's to blame for the declining CD sales? Is it that manufacturers are putting out more and more 'safe' (read: crap) music while independent musicians are releasing online? Is it because iTunes is now the third largest music retailer in the country? Or is it just that CDs are becoming obsolete?" Quoting: "Forbes.com [ran] an article showing that CD sales are expected to be down 20% in 2008 (slightly higher than the 15% drop initially predicted). Why such a drop? What's truly happening is a gradual shift away from physical media to downloadable formats. What this indicates, so far, is that US sales of digital music will be growing at an estimated rate of 28% in 2008, however physical sales will drop even further, resulting in a net overall decline.""

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Not yet (5, Insightful)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644789)

Until downloadable music isn't compressed, or they are able to compress without ANY loss, there will still be a need for CD's. I think the under 25 crowd doesn't care that much, you wouldn't notice the difference on an Ipod, but on a nice home system you do.

Re:Not yet (5, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644835)

Apart from home audio systems, a LOT of people listen to music on car stereos. And on good ones, CD quality really helps for some music -- for example, Shine On You Crazy Diamond sounds a lot better on CD than an MP3 burn.

That said, yeah, a lot of new music has been so overprocessed and made loud [performermag.com] that the they don't really benefit much from a CD. Still, people who listen to classical etc will be able to tell the difference.

Re:Not yet (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644989)

Higher Bit Rate music sounds better on even poor quality sound systems. The problem is, is that most people who say they don't care just haven't heard their music in +384kbps and don't know what they're missing.

The music industry should realize the CD is a fading format. They need to start pushing 192khz audio dvds. They have almost the same manufacturing cost as CDs. And considering the number of homes that have surround sound system in the US, this is quality that could easily be appreciated.

(under 25 and appreciates good sound quality)

Re:Not yet (5, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645021)

Fully agree - but CD quality was never as good a vinyl through the right equipment. Bob Dylan had a lot to say about that a few months back. To his ears there just haven't been any CDs that have achieved what vinyl, with the right engineers handling the mix, used to.

There's a degree to which the psychoacoustic models that schemes like mp3 use actually clean up the noisy mess that all or most all CDs present. The way these schemes hollow out the back of the sound produces something clearer and more delicate - more like live music straight from the amps. Except it really sounds quite different from live music. Good vinyl, on the other hand, can be indistinguishable from live performance if your eyes are closed. CDs never had that. So it's easy to walk away from them. All the discussion of "lossless" misses the point that at the rates CDs are sampled there's already a high degree of loss. Music is inherently analog; digital has to get an order of magnitude better (at least) before it'll be so realistic that it's worth a premium.

Re:Not yet (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645101)

i don't believe for a second that someone like bob dylan who has been exposed to a million billion decibles over the last 30 years, not to mention all the drugs, still has enough hearing left to tell.

furthur more, on a technical level cd's use a lossless uncompressed format which should be a perfect reproduction of what was mixed. not to say that standards in mixing and recording aren't down, but don't try knock the technology that's used ok?

Re:Not yet (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645351)

First of all you're starting with a weak argument: "what does Bob Dylan know about what music sounds like" is not the sort of position I would prefer to defend. And also lots of us use drugs and are not deaf. So there is that. If there is a drug that makes you deaf, please let me know what it is because I could really use it at work. But this is just too funny:

furthur more, on a technical level cd's use a lossless uncompressed format which should be a perfect reproduction of what was mixed.
Yes they do not use lossy digital compression, but that's irrelevant. The digitization of the analog signal is what destroys information, resulting in distortion when the analog is reconstructed later.

Re:Not yet (4, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645287)

Fully agree - but CD quality was never as good a vinyl through the right equipment. Bob Dylan had a lot to say about that a few months back. To his ears there just haven't been any CDs that have achieved what vinyl, with the right engineers handling the mix, used to.

Ohhh. really. I have a pair of thousand dollar cables to sell you.....

Realistically most ears can't hear the distinction between new vinyl and a CD / MP3. I can't tell reasonable bitrate Mp3, CD, or vinyl. They simply are good enough for most.

Simple explanation: gifts (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645221)

First I agree, music quality has nothing to do with it. That accounts for a negligible market size. The real reason is gifts. How many CDs did you used to buy and how many did you used to give as gifts. I'd wager about 10% of the CDs you bought was the number you gave as gifts at christmas or other times. Possibly more. Nowadays I still give CDs as gifts. But I don't buy two of it. I buy one, make a copy for myself, and give the original media as the gift. The original media is a much better gift than a burned CD or a pile of itunes gift certificates. It's not like the days of audi tapes where a Mix CD took time and effort and could only be made one at a time. THere the mix tapes were more valuable than the original media. With Cds its the reverse. I have no problems owning a copy but I prefer to give the original as a gift. It's the tangible media that is satsifying to the recpient. I'd say that could easily account for 15% of the market.

Re:Not yet (2, Insightful)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644853)

With more and more people listening to iPods and music on their mp3-phones or other tiny music gadgets, its no surprise that soon we'll have our next generation born partially deaf or with their ears insensitive to certain frequencies. That is to say, the ears will have a narrower frequency response band. I know many people who are already partially deaf due to listening on their iPods 24x7. People listen to music even in the noisiest conditions of construction work or a traffic snarl. This causes the volume on their headsets to be much louder than recommended. The damage to their ear drums is irreparable.

So, my point here is that the quality of audio will not matter anymore about 5-10 years down the line. Also, one point I forgot to mention, the music churned out nowadays is also more like noise rather than music. But then thats off-topic.

Re:Not yet (4, Insightful)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645263)

With more and more people listening to iPods and music on their mp3-phones or other tiny music gadgets, its no surprise that soon we'll have our next generation born partially deaf or with their ears insensitive to certain frequencies.
That has nothing to do with the genetics of hearing. If a soldier gets an arm blown off in a battle, does that mean he has a higher chance of having kids with only one arm? Of course not.

Get-off-my-lawnism aside, I've found that most people who are satisfied with iPod quality music have either never been exposed to proper audio reproduction, or they just don't care that much. Not everyone wants a medium-rare filet; some people just want a cheeseburger.

Cheeseburgers and blown-off arms in the same post. Take that, mods!

Re:Not yet (2, Informative)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645301)

If a soldier gets an arm blown off in a battle, does that mean he has a higher chance of having kids with only one arm? Of course not.
Thats not what I meant. I meant that the age at which people (or should I say, children) are being exposed to music gadgets is decreasing and the trash that gets labeled as music is increasing. Thats why I am saying that deafness or hearing disability will set in at a lower age than was seen in the previous gen. Got it?

Re:Not yet (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644857)

You realize, of course, that CDs are not magical entities, fanciful vessels which contain the entirety of a musical performance. They lose detail just like every other means of recording sound. If you can create an alternative means of encoding sound that takes less space and sounds equally good (in a double-blind test), then it's a better method for holding music. Granted, having some overhead is good for future editing or re-encoding, but we've come up with much better ways to store MORE useful information in LESS space than CDs use.

Re:Not yet (1, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645121)

Not only that, but the care that was taken to create the recordings of yesteryear is NOT taken today. Masters KNOW that people are going to be listening to their work primarily on headphones and very lo-fi (relative to what is required to actually hear the subtleties that audiophiles get addicted to) sound systems. Guess what retard emo-hippies, those new releases that you "buy only on vinyl" are no better sounding than the cd...why? Because the vinyl was MADE FROM THE CD YOU JACKASS. Its not like the old days where a record cutting facility will get a big 'ol tape from the mastering studio, and then there will be a guy sitting at the record cutting machine overseeing the process. They get the cd, they stick it in a machine, and away it goes. Out pops a vinyl.

Re:Not yet (1)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644865)

Most people don't actually care about the loss. Not only that, but the article claims that CDs are becoming obsolete (as in going down in sales), as opposed to being completely unwanted.

Re:Not yet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644867)

Not only the under 25 crowd, but the good majority of people don't care. The majority of people do not have a high enough quality system in their homes that it will really make a difference between compressed and uncompressed songs. Even if the sound system is good enough, many people simply cannot tell the difference, especially if the music is compressed at a higher bitrate/better format than the "standard" 128 kbps MP3. And if it doesn't actually sound any different, why bother?

Re:Not yet (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644873)

I'm sure overall music sales are down, if you are looking at nothing but the dollars spent on music. But I wonder if individual SALES are up? I mean, people don't buy 18$ CDs, but they DO buy 99 cent tracks. I have a feeling that if you look at the "number of music purchases made" figures, they're probably right in line with what they've always been. Maybe even higher.

As far as CDs sticking around because of the "inferior quality" of compressed tracks goes-

Give me a break. Nobody cares. Good enough is good enough. The so-called "audiophile" market is not what drives sales.

Re:Not yet (1)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645051)

$18 dollar CDs? Where are you buying these from? Most I've ever spent is $15, on one of those double disc things.

Re:Not yet (1)

QMalcolm (1094433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645265)

Whenever I buy trance CDs I'm always shocked at how cheap pop/rock is in comparison. Especially with imported CDs, $20+ is not uncommon for a single disc, $25+ is pretty much the standard for double discs. This is in Canada, I don't know if it's any better in the States.

Re:Not yet (3, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644883)

Add to that the fact that some of us actually like the physical media and the artwork that comes with it.

The other thing is that, with most people just snagging a song or two from an album because they heard it on the radio, they will never really know if they like the rest of the band's work. I've bought cds for one or two songs and ended up liking the rest of the album.

I'm just kind of tired of the teenage crowd constantly crowing that the CD doesn't matter. Heck, I'm only in my 20's and I see the benefit to CDs, but that may also be the occasional DJ in me.

Re:Not yet (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645257)

Personally, I don't enjoy keeping that many CDs around the house because I would rather not have the clutter. The ability to hold my entire collection in a small portable is worth more than having a few thousand cases.

Also, I sample tons of music, and often find that I only like 2 or 3 songs from an album. In other words, I would be fine if the rest of the ablum were deleted off my hard drive.

I keep finding less and less reasons to hang onto CDs. The artwork is only there to help them sell you something that's overpriced to begin with. I'm all about the music.

Re:Not yet (2, Informative)

weteko (1022621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645171)

You could, of course, download music compressed using FLAC. It being lossless and all.

I Still Buy CDs (5, Insightful)

xdc (8753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645249)

Amen to no compression / lossless compression. I just bought like 5 CDs today. Not only is sound quality a huge factor, but I perceive some benefit to owning tangible, non-DRMed media rather than something that's filling up a hard drive which can go bad, or home-burned CD-Rs collecting dust in a closet. If I want to make car listening copies or custom compilations, I can rip the CDs onto the computer. From there I can also copy to an iPod-type device. But I don't have to. For my money I already have a plastic disc with printed liner notes which I don't need to fool around with if all I want is a quick listen.

With downloaded music, not only is the audio lossy, but then I also have to spend my precious time producing archival or car listening CD-Rs on my own separately-purchased, questionably-durable media, labeled with a Sharpie or some mediocre inkjet-printed sticker.

And what about rare music? When some remix/promo single or obscure album/12" is long out of print and not carried by places like the iTunes Store, and the torrents have all died down, I may still be able to track down an authentic, full-quality release at a used/collectible shop. I doubt I could be so lucky with old download-only releases, where any company hosting them would likely be sued out of business.

Re:Not yet (3, Interesting)

angrykeyboarder (791722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645299)

I agree. I've bought music online before from iTunes. And I likely will again (if it's just one song or two that I want rather than entire CD).

But 98% of the time, I will buy a CD and then rip it. I will get much better quality with my own rip than I will buying from an online store. Even worse are the files on P2P networks. Legal issues aside, most of them are ripped by 15-year olds that have no clue as to how to rip a high quality file (i.e. with high bitrates).

If the online music stores want to switch from AAC or WMA to FLAC at very high bitrates (and DRM-free), then I might stop buying CDs.

And maybe I'm old fashioned (and just old) but I guess this goes back to my days growing up with vinyl. I like liner notes (although I need a magnifying glass to read them on most CDs these days) and cover art. And perhaps even lyrics (that I know haven't been butchered by some bozo who contributed to one of the online lyric sites).

Another plus for CDs: if my hard drive crashes and takes my music collection with it, I can always rip the CDs again (been there, done that).

And you're right, it's the under-25 crowd that doesn't care about any of this stuff. Just as long as it sounds decent on their iPod or WalMart bought boombox "Stereo".

For the record, I don't own an iPod or any kind of portable music player. But my computer doubles as my home stereo (that's why I invested in decent speakers for it).

So unlike the under-25 folks, I do care about good sound and right now that's best had with CDs (or even better - SACD or DVD-Audio).

Since the under 25 crowd are the people who have always been buying the most music, it makes sense that CD sales have plummeted.

Oh and yeah, and most of what's on the radio these days sucks anyway. I generally buy music based on reviews or word of mouth.

But I digress....

Duh... peak limiting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644807)

Peak limiting, also called Dynamic Range Compression. If you know what this is, then you understand why CD sales have been dropping.

peak limiting !!!!! (1)

dancin_mitch (930473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645175)

"Peak limiting, also called Dynamic Range Compression. If you know what this is, then you understand why CD sales have been dropping."

Yeah for years and years i didn't know what it was about pop I didn't like.
I have downloaded music illegally, but when i find a song i like what am i to do ? buying the CD doesn't help....

One artist a tracked down through myspace, and to get a clean version i had to order a record, as in vinyl. The artist couldn't even find a CD that wasn't messed up to send to me.

For me, it has nothing to do with copyright, just getting a "clean" version. This I will and have paid for with actual $$$.

Speaking for myself (5, Interesting)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644813)

My CD purchasing is zero these days - until the music industry quits harassing their customers and treating the performers as slaves they're not getting a dime from me.

Maybe others feel the same way?

Re:Speaking for myself (2, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644905)

until the music industry quits harassing their customers and treating the performers as slaves they're not getting a dime from me.

Yeah, I voted with my feet (and wallet) a few years ago.

I go see local bands, and if they have CDs on sale at the door, I'll buy there. That's the extent of my music spending now, and I used to buy half a dozen CDs a month.

Re:Speaking for myself (2, Insightful)

mashade (912744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644987)

I haven't bought a CD in months, and have instead spent time rediscovering the music I already have. It takes a lot of time to rip a large collection to a digital format, and so you tend to be a bit more invested in it.

With a large collection, it's also easy to find tracks that you haven't heard in a long time, and you're more likely to stumble upon tracks you've never heard.

Just my two cents.

Re:Speaking for myself (3, Insightful)

fretlessjazz (975926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645123)

I think many people make the mistake of always associating CDs with Major Labels. There are thousands of non-major labels who do not choke their musicians by collecting disproportionately large fees from CD sales. My question to you is this: if major labels ceased to exist, and The Artist collected a legitimate proportion of the profits, would you really start buying CDs again? Or has it become easier to dismiss the medium as irrelevant? It worries me that the physical transfer of music in tangible form is declining. The art that goes into album design and track arrangement is very important to the message that the artist is attempting to convene. Removing this "wrapper" is like not watching the opening montage to a movie. The songs then become sugar packets that you empty into your iced tea.

Re:Speaking for myself (1)

fretlessjazz (975926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645153)

Er, *convey. Oops.

Re:Speaking for myself (1)

DaSH Alpha (979904) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645143)

I just wait until music I like comes out to buy a CD. This happens around once a year these days...

Re:Speaking for myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645147)

Exactly. Solely because of the RIAA's disgusting tactics, I have stopped purchasing new CDs entirely, and so has my wife. If we want a CD, we buy second-hand *only*, and even then only if the disc has no intrusive copy protection measures whatsoever. If a disc has intrusive copy protection I refuse point blank to buy it, even second-hand.

Re:Speaking for myself (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645213)

I buy loads of CDs. I doubt, however, that the sales of John Inchingham, Tourdion, Echo's Children, John Ap Wynne, and Brobdingnagian Bards CDs made it into that figure. Yep, I've left the RIAA and buy only from local bands/bands involving people I know. My music consumption has actually gone up.

Re:Speaking for myself (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645345)

Another lame "Save the poor artists" justification for piracy.

It's likely you pirate your music because even if you buy digitally delivered content, the money still goes to the record companies so piracy is the only choice available to you since you believe in this retarded argument about how artists need you to defend them and how none of them are happy. Whatever....

It's the bands (4, Insightful)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644815)

Personally, I find myself more interested in bands that put their music out on the net and/or sell CD-Rs themselves. (Nerdcore, Wizard Rock, etc.) I can't remember the last time I bought music from someone who the RIAA 'represents.'

This seems to parallel the increasing niche-ification of magazines and their cannibalization by the web. Not at all suprising, really.

inevitable (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644817)

Cds did a lot better when people didnt have as much access to online sources of music and when 56k was the rule not the exception. Now that any library, office and a large number of homes have high speed of some sort and more tech savvy people than ever it is no surprise that people are less willing to shell out 15 to 20 dollars on a cd that has a lot of music they didnt personally choose to have. People can go online, download the songs they want and do whatever they want [especially on p22p where DRM just doesnt have a foothold] with their music.

It's not just music competition (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645149)

CD, and all music sales, must compete against all other discretionary/disposable income (depending which definition you choose to use). Ten years back there were far fewer ways to blow your money.

Of course, the 1960s, 70s and 80s had decade-defining music. There's no such music for the 2000's. Not really that much worth buying.

A Silly Thing About Vinyl (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644821)

All the miniaturization is nice, but one thing that has been missing from the music industry since the 1980s is the physical size of the record. A record album was a fairly large thing, and, covers were small posters in their own right. Nowadays, you get a little picture in a plastic case with the CD, which is nice and transportable, for sure, but it is not as effective as a total package visually as a big record used to be.

Re:A Silly Thing About Vinyl (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644953)

Heh.

Back in, um, '92? I went to my favorite used music store, and they had set out a milk crate filled w/ abandoned albums that had scratches and the people who brought them in weren't able to sell. I bought the whole crate for $3 and covered a wall with them.

Re:A Silly Thing About Vinyl (2, Interesting)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644999)

A record album was a fairly large thing, and, covers were small posters in their own right.

Yeah, I grew up with them, loved them, and I remember people bitching about the small size of CDs when they came out, but I never missed it. Probably because I got a booklet with the CD (probably same total area, so it was a push.)

Then the booklets got smaller and I never missed it. Probably because by then I had the web and didn't need to stare at physical liner notes while listening to an album.

Now I've got D/Ls and iTunes and cetera, and any 'album' I listen to I've probably created myself, so I know why each song is there.

CD is becoming obsolete (1)

Newton IV (666922) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644825)

In the future the storage will have no removable or mechanical/rotating parts- just like the human brain does not.

Re:CD is becoming obsolete (1)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644851)

You mean like an SD card.

Re:CD is becoming obsolete (1)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644899)

Like flash storage? CDs don't have any moving parts anyway. Besides, the human brain has many removable parts, which is what makes it so sturdy. Memory is stored in multiple locations.

Re:CD is becoming obsolete (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645067)

Ever heard of lobotomy?

Speaking of indie music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644827)

Motion City Soundtrack just released a video [youtube.com] with a song from their new album on Youtube. I 3 it.

I still buy CDs, and here is why (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644829)

1. It's a high-quality, DRM-free copy of the music which I can convert into FLAC and other digital formats I choose. (Yes, there are exceptions, but it's much better than most online stores).

2. I have a semi-permanent copy which I can re-rip as many times as I want.

3. Shiny.

Re:I still buy CDs, and here is why (1)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644937)

The problem is, as more and more people are raised with a world of alternatives like iTunes, fewer and fewer will be as attached to the CD. It's like the CRT. Some people still swear by them, but who uses anything but an LCD these days?

Re:I still buy CDs, and here is why (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645069)

...but who uses anything but an LCD these days?

Designers, prepress, videophiles, anyone who really cares about color gamut.

Of course, that's a niche market, same as high-end audio.

And here is why you shouldn't: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644945)

1) Aganist Copyright Law, you are not allowed to convert to other formats.

2) Aganist Copyright Law, you are not allowed to backup your music.

3) Agreed. Shiny.

Re:And here is why you shouldn't: (4, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645319)

1) Aganist Copyright Law, you are not allowed to convert to other formats.
Wrong. Media-shifting a disk that doesn't remove DRM has long been recognized as Fair Use. If it wasn't, the iPod would never have been sold in the first place.

2) Aganist Copyright Law, you are not allowed to backup your music.
Also wrong. An actual backup is well within the realm of Fair Use. Buy your CD, copy it to a CD-R, and let the copy go to crap in your automobile.

3) Agreed. Shiny.
Meh.

Re:And here is why you shouldn't: (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645349)

  1. False. You are allowed to convert to other formats.
  2. False, you are allowed to backup your music.
  3. True.
THere is NOTHING in copyright (or even patent ) laws that prevents you from making copies for your personal use.NOTHING. There are 2 laws that you must be concerned about. The first is the DMCA. It prevents you from decrypting even for your personal use. The implication and uses of it have been interesting. The second is that under copyright/patent law, you are not allowed to distribute some for commercial use. If I share a copy of a song with my wife, there is NOTHING that RIAA can do. It is legal. If I share it with some friends, that is legal. If I share if with you and a bunch of A.C.s, then I am in the distribution business, and I am in trouble. If I use p2p to download, I think that is legal (but I am not certain, since it was from an AC). If I make these available on-line for others, i.e., I am not a leech, then I am in the distribution business.

Hope that helps.

Re:I still buy CDs, and here is why (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644965)

I'm having issues with the DRM free bit. The CD logo isn't being shown on actual CDs and some music disks aren't being labeled as being incompatible with computer drives or "some CD players". I don't care what they do with the disks, but they do need to label properly and evidently. The "explicit lyrics" sticker is a marketing device now, and a "CD incompatible" label should be at least the same size.

Not Just Away From CDs (4, Insightful)

FreezerJam (138643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644861)

...but away from albums, too.

People are finally able to buy singles again. How much of this drop is due simply to people only buying the two good tracks from an album and leaving the other eight behind?

Re:Not Just Away From CDs (1)

PoprocksCk (756380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645057)

I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head... not that I *like* this trend personally, nor do I buy into it. I love buying full albums because the artists I tend to buy them from seem to treat them more as "beginning-to-end statements" rather than just a collection of single tracks with a few good songs thrown in.

But I was utterly SHOCKED the other day when my friend told me his favourite band was Rise Against (ugh), and when I asked him if he owned all of their albums, he said he didn't own a single one. Things like that make me feel old :P I guess it's the 90s mindset vs. the 2000s mindset.

Re:Not Just Away From CDs (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645073)

I don't really understand this argument about "only buying the two good tracks" on a CD because the rest sucks. Maybe your choice in music or band just sucks? I buy very, very few CDs, but it's not because I don't want 80% of the tracks. Why buy an album from a band where you only enjoy 20% of it (or only enjoy the songs that the radio/MTV/billboard tells you to enjoy)? Heck, why even listen to those kind of bands? I buy albums where I enjoy 100% of the songs.

Re:Not Just Away From CDs (1)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645167)

That's what I thought when I bought all my CDs - 5-8 years later when I looked to dump them onto a Nano, it turns out that most of them had a couple good songs and were otherwise disposable, even regrettable. You get older, you grow up, you get over yourself.

Re:Not Just Away From CDs (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645113)

People are finally able to buy singles again. How much of this drop is due simply to people only buying the two good tracks from an album and leaving the other eight behind?

Agreed, the irony of this is their own marketing tactics have made this possible. It's not as much the rest of the tracks are crap, but they're just not marketed, if you don't listen to them enough, you don't like them, and think they're worse, and hence not buy 'em.

And hence the "one good single and the rest is filler" talk.

To confirm this, just try to listen to a new "super album" without ever hearing the marketed single (hard, I admit). You'll never guess which is the song marketed on 80% of the albums. It's actually often decided post factum after the album has been recorded.

Forbes.com [ran] an article showing that CD sales are expected to be down 20% in 2008 (slightly higher than the 15% drop initially predicted). Why such a drop? What's truly happening is a gradual shift away from physical media to downloadable formats.

Exactly right, and this is why I'm pissing my pants laughing here watching the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray race. They seem to genuiely don't understand, that whoever wins, they both lose in the end. Just consider the amoutn of money spent on technology, production and marketing on those duds. That's funny, right.

Re:Not Just Away From CDs (1)

DWIM (547700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645119)

How much of this drop is due simply to people only buying the two good tracks from an album and leaving the other eight behind?

I suspect it has a LOT to do with it. It's unfortunate in a way though. In my experience, it is the rare album that I buy that really only has two good songs on it. Most albums I buy I end up liking in their entirety and it is pretty unusual to find a song that I just can't stand. That being said, many times I've needed to hear an album 3 or 4 times before I really warm up to it -- some I thought on first listen I would never like. Interestingly, I've found some of my favorite albums started out as ones I didn't like at all at first.

It's nice that people can choose to buy a la carte and I understand that everyone isn't the same. But I think people are cheating themselves out of good music when they only select the songs they like immediately.

I hope not... (4, Interesting)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644869)

At least, I hope a physical medium for purchasing and keeping your music is not on the way out.

I hate downloaded music, I hate having nothing but some files and a printed out cover to show for my money (or no cover etc. if I'm not going to back them up individually).

I love having shelves of cds, with their cover art, their liner notes etc. I love the hard, physical format of them.

I'm forever worried that I'll lose or misplace, erase or whatever the tracks I've legally downloaded...

I want physical music delivery to remain dammit!

There is only one proper distribution format (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644871)

Vinyl

re: There is only one proper distribution format (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644923)

There is only one proper distribution format

Tape


Fixed

Re: There is only one proper distribution format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645259)

And to be precise, it's got to be 8-track [wikipedia.org] - it is well-equipped handle the inevitable comeback of quadrophonic.

I miss vinyl (1)

l33tDad (1118795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644889)

I don't care what anyone says, I still miss vinyl.

Re:I miss vinyl (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644973)

Vinyl is old. The marketers convinced me that 8 Track is better.

Re:I miss vinyl (5, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645109)

No worry, there will always be a market for vinyl. [seekingo.com]

Re:I miss vinyl (5, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645211)

Wow, talk about market penetration!

Re:I miss vinyl (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645277)

Damn you, you're going to get more funny mod points than I am :)

I won't buy downloadable music... (2, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644893)

...until it's uncompressed CD quality audio, I don't care if it's protected by DRM to disallow sharing, as long as I can rip the files to AAC, WMA, or whatever other format I choose and copy them to digital audio players I have authorized for my personal use. Until then I'll only buy CDs.

too expensive (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644897)

no wonder, they become obsolete. In a time, when many DVDs are available for 8 dollars or less, a typical CD is just too expensive. Burn it onto DVD and sell it for half of what it costs now, sell it "previously viewed" on the street like many DVD shops do now. I would not be surprised if profits would go up.

None of the Above (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644901)

People don't have a fixed budget for CD's and now they're hoarding it now because the music sucks - they have a certain amount of disposable income that they allot to entertainment, and they're not spending it on CD's as much as they used to. DVD sales only peaked last year - does it surprise the heck out of everybody that just as DVD players became affordable CD sales started to tank? People are also buying hi-def screens and home theaters in record numbers. Back in 1986 lots of people weren't used to buying VHS tapes, and they still bought records and then CD's and spent time sitting around listening to music. Most people don't do this anymore, they watch movies or premium cable or shows on their DVR's.

RIAA, meet MPAA. Sony, Universal, Warner - you're competing with yourselves.

Shopping for CDs is shopping blind. (2, Insightful)

damacus (827187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644921)

Buying music without being able to sample each track is a hard sell these days. People are now used to being able to take an albeit brief listen to nearly every track on a CD before making a decision to buy. You can do that of course on either online CD purchase sites like Amazon, or iTunes. One of those will give you the music immediately, and generally for less than a new CD.

Buying music at a Brick & Mortar is buying blind. Usually they only have a small selection available on preview machines.. if they have one. "Gee, I hope the other tracks on this thing don't suck," is not a good thing to have going through customers' heads when they're shopping.

The last time I bought music CD at a store was fathers day, when I just wanted to get my dad some CDs that I knew were really good compilations. That's about the only use I have for B&M.

FWIW, I generally buy my music using amazon's marketplace. Better quality, I can rip my purchase legally to my specification, and it's dirt cheap.

So, uh, buy CDs at Amazon.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19644949)

You can preview the tracks, then click BUY. If you're a big Amazon shopper like me, you get Amazon Prime and have everything in two days.

Re:So, uh, buy CDs at Amazon.com (1)

damacus (827187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645031)

Way to read the post, chief. If you're already online, the competition is hugely not in favor of CDs. You can just go buy the tracks you like a la carte off iTunes or eMusic. The album could be downloaded via P2P. Or, yeah, they could buy a CD (and if its used, the record companies still don't see any money.)

Cost (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644931)

Personally, I haven't bought a new CD in months, and that's due to one reason only. I'm in college and I can't afford them. $10 for a forty to fifty minute album doesn't seem like a very good deal when that can be used something like food or a longer-lasting form of entertainment.

Convenience (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644935)

CD sales are down because people have become accustomed to being able to get the things that they want online. This and, due to the internet and mp3, people have started discovering more and more 'underground' music. It would be very difficult (read: impossible) for retailers like best buy, much less wal-mart, to stock the required inventory required to satisfy some customer's demands. The last to Cds that I purchased were by bands that most people have never heard of (The Breakestra, and Trevor Hall). I purchased half of the one online, and all of another. Why? Because i'm at work all day long, and i live too far away from the local record shop that would actually STOCK the bands that i wanted.

Two things have happened:
1.Big Box retailers like best buy and circuit city have pushed the mom and pop record shop out of business, meaning that in order to find the more obscure music, people are forced to go online.
2. People (like me) have gotten used to the fact that they don't HAVE to go to the cd shop to buy what they want anymore. In FACT it is sortof a pain in the neck to actually have to go. If i DO buy a physical CD, i have to take it home, get it out of the packaging, put it into my computer, rip it down to MP3 (lets face it, most modern recordings don't require a lossless format like FLAC), and upload it to my daapd server before I even really listen to it. If i buy the cd online, all i have to do is run qtfairuse copy it to a samba share and i'm ready to roll.

SO its basically convenience.

I bought one Saturday (3, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644951)

I bought a CD on saturday, and I'm enjoying listening to it. There are quite a few reasons I bought it in a CD format.

1. I like it uncompressed, I probably couldn't hear the difference with the new iTunes DRM-free tracks, but I don't have to worry about recompressing them later and having the flaws come popping out.
2. I run linux and it's really a PITA to boot over to windows to use iTunes, and eMusic doesn't have some of the artist I enjoy.
3. The cover art and the convenience of having a disk for the car premade with a nice pressing is enjoyable.
4. I want to buy from artists I enjoy so they can keep making music

I don't see online distribution quite solving these things yet. ALthough, I will admit, most consumers are a lot more apathetic about these issues than me.

Generally yes (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644963)

I don't have exact figures but from what I've been seeing so far, people who can afford would generally get their music from a subscription service (e.g. iTunes, Emusic, etc), while those who can't will probably just download them off P2P or get them from friends. Somewhere in between is the enthusiast (like myself) who still like those liner notes, album art, etc. I'm also a completist. With those bands I really like, I'd rather buy the CD than download the tunes given a choice.

CDs aren't becoming obsolete... (1)

Red Mage 13 (791885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644977)

They're just becoming very shiny coasters.

iPod kiosk (1)

narced (1078877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19644979)

I know a lot of non-netheads who would love an iPod, but fear downloading music from iTunes for who knows what reasons. They still prefer to buy CD's and pay for them to an actual human. I think it has something to do with fears of inputting their personal info into a web form (understandable, really).

I would like to see retailers that have a device that will "stuff" your iPod with the tunes that you want. Kind of like an iTunes brick and mortar store, but really just a machine not unlike those photo printing machines that are everywhere now. Think iPod kiosk. I imagine that if you could just plug your iPod into this device and pick your tunes, and then pay the register that it would get a lot of sales.

What I'm saying is that for a lot of people it is not "downloading" that they want, it is digital format that they are after. Provide them an easy to use digital format in a brick and mortar store and it just might work.

Classic responses (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645005)

1) the Indie Douchebag. This Slashdotter will claim he only buys from 'local' or 'indie' bands, namely, his friends' garage band.

2) the Audiophile Loudmouth. This one buys 24k gold plated CDs, listened to on a 20bit DAC feeding monster-cabled speakers that he bought at Best Buy.

3) the Pirate. You all suck, Gnutella FTW!

Face it, none of the dorkwads on here, myself included, is representative of the mouthbreathers at Walmart whose choices power the economy.

Re:Classic responses (1)

Hashi Lebwohl (997157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645145)

I wish I had mod points, I'd mod you right up! You summarised this entire thread beautifully.

Well done!

was the movie Memento based on all of you? (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645007)

Is it that manufacturers are putting out more and more 'safe' (read: crap) music

Where on earth did so many people on slashdot get the bizarre misapprehension that pop, lowest-common-denominator music is somehow more prevalent now than it's been in the past? It's always been there, at least since the 50's, and if you weren't conscious during the 80's and 90's, I assure you that the majority of music released during the decades was "safe" bubble gum pop. Think back, do you remember that music? No? Of course you don't, it was immensely forgettable and put out for a quick buck.

And I know that 10 years from now the same people who try to paint this phenomenon as new will be repeating the same mantra again and again, "remember back in the early 2000s when music was good, before they started releasing commercialized garbage?".

I've seen this article here before. (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645043)

Yeah, I know, Slashdot is teh dupe, but this was two years or so ago.


And the fortune says:
YOW!! The land of the rising SONY!!
Most appropriate.

People never wanted CD's. (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645045)

This is the obvious result of people finally being able to buy 1 song for a buck or two. Before people would pay 12~20 bucks for a CD that only had a few songs on it that they actually liked. That's the whole reason they are trying to force itunes to raise prices on certain songs.

anectdote != data but... (1)

f1055man (951955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645063)

I own a few hundred cds. I only listen to music at my home computer or with headphones at my computer at work. I haven't bought a cd in years. The only purpose they serve is to get the music from the store to the hard drive of one of my computers. I listen to the music on the cds all the time, but the cds themselves gather dust in my closet.

I hope so... (1)

spankey51 (804888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645071)

I hope so... HVD's [wikipedia.org] are way cooler.

Re:I hope so... (1)

jklappenbach (824031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645103)

Anything *D (at least optical) media needs to go. Why hold on to a storage medium that scratches, can be lost, has a shorter lifespan than most people realize, and is too big to fit into your back pocket?

Superior formats failed (1)

David Nabbit (924807) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645081)

Considering the amazing success of DVD Audio and Super Audio CD, it's a wonder we have any regular CDs left at all.

permanence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645125)

I think that less music on physical media is sold because so much of the music lacks permanence. Very little is created now that will be of enduring value. it's all "flavor of the month" and all driven by dancing and sexy bodies, and the career of an "artist" is correspondingly short. There is less interest in having a copy of the music around; you already know you won't be listening to it six months from now, much less several years.

Unabashed plug: Those who are interested in independently-produced progressive rock and jazz... more complex music that's likely to be engaging and reveal new things over time... please visit workshopmusic.com; and turn it up loud. ; )

Same with tapes, 5.25" disks, 3.5" disks ... (1)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645127)

... and eventually, DVDs, USB flash disks, Blu-Ray disks, the hard disk drive itself, etc etc. Nothing lasts forever.

Not obsolete. Too #!@$# expensive. (2, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645129)

Sell for $5-$10. Music sales will go way up. "piracy" will still be around, but more people who like what they download will actually go out and buy the CD and encode themselves. Compressed music should really just be an advertisement for the real product. While at it, get rid of the stupid DRM schemes, ok?

Kind of offtopic....

WTF don't companies who make boomboxes that can read mp3 CDs put DVD drives in instead? It sure would be nice to have a 4GB fully integrated solution for weekend camping. Oh well. I'll just stick to the sansa with a boomtube, I guess.

Why CDs are good (2, Insightful)

geophile (16995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645141)

I listen to MP3s exclusively, but buy only CDs because:
  • CDs are higher quality than MP3s.
  • They serve as another layer of backups.
  • I can rip them to whatever level of quality I want and get DRM-free music.
  • Buying individual tracks, I'd miss some great music. CDs are full of unappreciated gems. There's often a lot of filler, of course, but the obscure tracks make it worthwhile.

I don't buy all that much music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645155)

Aside from the fact that I have been unemployed for a while, I really only buy 3-4 cd's a year, usually movie sound tracks. I listen to a lot of classical, and Mozart just doesn't produce a lot of new hits being dead and all. When I first got a cd player I bought maybe 50 cd's a year, but I have
all the major classical works. Unlike tapes, I seldom wear out or damage a cd. So little need to buy
anything new. I DO buy lots of DVD's however. Once again the poor US tech economy prevents me from getting more.

I do my part. (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645229)

It's been four years since I bought a CD because I just don't really care for mainstream music anymore. It's not that I'm waiting around for music to get better, it's because I just don't care about what the rest of the world is doing musically. The last brand new CD I bought must've been at least seven years ago.

I mostly listen to my own music which I give away for free [zendurl.com] on the Internet. Perhaps I'm self-centered. I imagine that many people are seeking free sources for their music. Why pay money when people out there are giving away good stuff for free, right?

In a word ... overpriced. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19645235)

imho, music CD's are worth no more than a couple of bucks. for $2, i'd have bought a lot of CDs ... personally, I believe that if the market hadn't been perverted, it would be worth a lot more. Of course, you can't really expect people earning six amd seven fiqure salaries to understand basic concepts like, say, economics of scale or something called 'ethics'

it's a crying shame that so few ruined so much for so many

I prefer CDs. (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645255)

I still prefer CDs over MP3s. First, I don't like paying for something that I consider ephemeral. I still like to have something physical. It's convenient to purchase music online. Then I have the hassle of backing up this music if I reinstall my OS, or get a new machine. And that's assuming I'm allowed to make copies.

Second, it seems like I'm more restricted in how I can use my music when purchasing online. It seems easier for a company to control content that way. Sure, there are ways to defeat any copy-protection, but sometimes it's a hassle.

I'd rather buy a CD, convert the songs I want into MP3s and be done with it. That way I have the comfort of knowing I have a reliable, high quality backup which I can even stick in my sound system when I'm so inclined.

So going online I'd spending as much as I have with CDs, but I end with with nothing physical to show for it. No album art, no booklet, not CD, nothing. Just some crappy 600x600 jpg if I'm lucky and an MP3. Maybe I'll embrace that medium some day, but only when it's evolve far beyond its current form.

Retro cool (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645311)

Retro cool in 5...4...3...

It's because I've already. . . (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645315)

It's because I've already bought seven distinct editions of Dark Side of the Moon, two each of Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, and the White album, three of Rumors, and two of the Bee Gees Greatest Hits, and CDs don't wear out. What do they expect me to do - smash the CDs and buy them all over again? Buy them on Blu-Ray? Hell, why not sign my paycheck over to the RIAA? Sheesh! ;)

It's obvious who's to blame... (2, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645337)

The RIAA. They've made the situation worse for themselves at just about every opportunity with their "this is the way it has been, this is the way it always will be" attitude. All things change in a dynamic environment, only the short sighted and naive believe the status quo can be maintained indefinately. Instead of accepting the coming changes they faught them every step of the way.

Recently I bought the new Nine Inch Nails album. Not because I felt the need to support their label, not because I prefer my music on CD's (I don't), and not because it was a good album (though it was). I bought it because a glimmer of imagination and creativity went into its production. The CD appears black until it's played, once it's been heated up by the laser it turns white and reveals previously hidden writing on the CD itself, along with a bit of binary code that can be translated into a URL. Finally, a reason (albeit a small one) to own the physical media again. A little something extra that's pretty interesting and can't be owned without buying the album. This is adaptation, and it's a trend the rest of the music industry should be following. It's time to offer more than just 12 tracks burned to a CD in a cheap plastic case, it's time to justify the $20 price tag in an age where the same music can and is being distributed globally for free. And for god's sake it's time to let some good music through, instead of this constant stream of generic crap.

Most of all, it's time for the RIAA to go away and make room for a new generation of music entertainment, one that isn't terrified by change.

It's the price stupid! (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19645347)

Now I'm just fucking cheap. But I don't want to pay $15-20 for a CD, especially since there is almost nothing that I would want to listen to (that I know of) that I don't already own on CD. Maybe if the radio wasn't so full of annoying ads and the same 5 garbage songs being pushed by big record companies being played over and over again I might find new stuff I want to listen to, but not the way it is now.

Of course there's always stuff like Pandora.com, but most of the time it plays stuff that I kind of like listening to while it's playing but don't feel compelled to purchase^Wlicense.
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