Could the CD be obsolete by the end of next year?

4 November 2011

11_12_9---Compact-Disc_web Here’s one that has taken our breath away a little bit – the days of the compact disc could be numbered. Side-Line music magazine are claiming that the major record labels are secretly planning to abandon the format by the end of 2012, concentrating instead on online/streaming formats and release CDs as limited edition collector’s items only.

The magazine has tried to get quotes from EMI, Universal and Sony on the story but all three have declined to comment. Side-Line also say that: “We were approached by several people working with major labels, who indeed re-confirm that plans do exist to give up the CD. We keep on trying to get an official confirmation, but it seems that the matter is very controversial.”

If it happens, the move could be the biggest shock of all time in music retail and would leave the likes of the already-ailing HMV more or less dead in the water. The likes of iTunes and Amazon would become even stronger with their online MP3 offerings.

What do you lot reckon to THAT then? EH??


  • Richard M.
    As with the e-book vs 'real' book debate, there is surely a huge number of people who still like the 'feel' of a CD, just as some people still do with a vinyl LP. While downloading music is certainly becoming the purchasing medium of choice for the younger demographic, not everyone wants to, or even has the ability to download everything, i.e. music, film, books etc. Apart from that, I like to have lyrics and recording/musician details etc, which is what makes a CD a nice comprehensive package. I can't see the CD disappearing as quickly as this article suggests.
  • delrio
    i remember when they said vinyl was dead. there'll always be a market for physical media. i, for one, prefer to own a physical version of the things i really like. my cd's don't get damaged as i look after them and put them back in their cases, and that's the only real advantage i can think of (other than storage space obv) to downloading. plus as Richard Malin says, the booklets and album art you get with cd's (and vinyl) can't be replicated with a digital copy. to me, download is good for singles, but for albums i will always want a physical copy. a shop isn't going to walk into my house and take back/change the media i have on a whim, and like it or not, that CAN happen with digital media. that or they charge you for re-downloading after a certain time period.
  • Dick
    No doubt they would put up the price of CDs, since they are collectors items.
  • Me
    Yeah right! I would never pay for a download but I am happy paying for the CD!
  • callum
    Delrio - Rubbish, music downloads come as MP3s nowadays. You can back them up an indefinite number of times anywhere you like, and they can't "come and take back/change" it. Many let you re-download for free, but if they don't - how is it any different to CDs? You can't walk into HMV and say "I've lost my CD, can you give me another copy for free please". I agree, I prefer CDs to downloads - but it's irrelevant what people prefer. It's all well and good preferring CDs, but you have to go out and regularly buy them for the record companies to care in the slightest.
  • Chris
    "secretly planning"? What does that mean? Do you think they will try take away CDs from shops without us realising? Those record companies are a crafty bunch!
  • kv
    dey tuk ur CDs!
  • Yue
    I don't buy downloads, I want something tangible but I'm not paying for massively overpriced collector's CDs. There's a wealth of second hand vinyl I don't own, I'll just improve my collection that way.
  • Wonky H.
    people still buy CDs ??????????????
  • bitterwallet r.
    There does not appear to be any download store that offers today's latest releases in a lossless format, only mp3s and suchlike (yuck). Only seem you can get more specialist (such as all types of dance) and indie labels as lossless. Sort it out Amazon! Why does the music industry assume we are happy paying for less quality? We do not all have cloth ears and listen to our music on tinny ipod earbuds y'know.
  • Bloke
    This has the whiff of Ryanair kite-flying all over it. You, as a record company, are going to give bands money to spend in a studio only to release their work in a crappy format that kills any depth and subtlety in the music so that what comes out of the speakers sounds like it was recorded on ten bob's worth of gear? That's a good one, a really good business case. Unless it's a plan to bring vinyl back. It sounds better, it's more of a balls-ache to copy and you can sell a whole load of gear to people who don't have the means to play records.
  • Tim
    Three things with CDs. 1. They are almost always cheaper than downloads (not counting the initial launch prices). Download prices for albums are very high and yet low value considering the lack of physical product and still CDs can be generally cheaper. 2. I'm guaranteed to get a full CD quality, non DRM, transferable to any device and future proof recording. I just rip the CD to Flac, play on media players, convert to MP3, and archive to keep forever. 3. Packaging is nice. If CD is to go away, and to be honest I can quite see physical media going away (I've barely bought into Blu-Ray for this reason), then CD quality non-DRM downloads need to be mandatory no matter if the studios want otherwise or the artist has their head up their arse about "copying kills music" (no mate, studios kill music, don't you realise how little you get thanks to them. Do away with them and music thrives more and you'll get a decent share of the money!).
  • Steve
    I don't see physical media dying unless there is truly something to replace it. Big retailers like Walmart have certainly cut back on their in-store stock of CDs, but I'm assuming on-line places like Amazon are still doing a brisk business. I honestly don't think the CD is dying a natural death; I think it is being murdered. The sound quality on CDs is deteriorating, mostly due to excess compression. New CDs that I've bought sound terrible compared to older CDs I have. They keep making the worse, then wonder why we aren't buying them. There is even an initiative in the European Union, to force equalization on to the sound tracks to make them play back at the same level to nullify the need for compression, or overly loud mixes. Next, I don't see that physical media dying unless some better physical media replaces it. My vote is for BluRay - ultra-high fidelity, ultra-high dynamic range, and tons of space on the disc for storage.
  • Rich
    If this is true then record companies really are stupid. Why would I want to buy a download track when I can get superior lossless audio on a CD? With a proper booklet and artwork. Which I can transfer to a lossy format AS WELL should I want to. Surely one of the anti-piracy arguments is that, ultimately, most people actually like having a nice physical copy of something with all the frills, be it CDs, DVDs/Blu-Rays, video games etc. It also appeals to people's inate desire to collect "things" and display them. If they do ever get rid of CDs then I'll just pirate every song I want. I'm not paying for a downloaded track. End of. I'm sure there are a whole load of other people who'd think similarly. We'll then go back to this never-ending "We're losing money. We NEED to [insert latest stupid ploy] in order to save to record industy as we know it." etc etc... Yawn.
  • Rick
    It is refreshing to see others with same concerns I have. I buy compact discs because I want the highest resolution that is available in the mass market. I do not want my only copy of an album to be highly compressed MP3s, which sound more like cassette tapes on a decent stereo system. I don't understand why we have to move backward instead of forward. If it all does move to downloads, at least allow it to be lossless formats, as well. Another notion that bothers me is the death of the "album." It has always been an experience to get a new album of an artist we like. The advent of downloads could be the death of that concept and the art of music production could be cheapened, as well. I don't understand why the music companies cannot push a DVD high definition audio format and convince the public of the superiority of the format, just as they did with compact disc, which many folks don't know, was actually a compromise and there was the ability to produced an better format than CD when they were introduced. The whole thing just makes me feel sad at the possible loss of something I have enjoyed for so many years.
  • Trang n.
    A person necessarily help to make seriously posts I'd state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular put up amazing. Fantastic job!
  • Making F.
    [...] made its final swan dive – and even the music industry, its last bastion of safety, is making worried noises about its future. Cue hundreds of millions of pieces of shiny plastic fanning about over the world’s [...]

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