CDs are Dead....Almost!

Started by Julio Di Benedetto, January 06, 2011, 08:21:19 PM

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The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans

Anodize DB

I don't really think it's beginning...if you read the piece thoroughly, Sony is simply relocating the CD manufacturing plant from NJ to Indiana. It doesn't indicate there's necessarily trouble brewing—only more corporate reorganization/downsizing, although it's possible that fewer manufacturing facilities will exist in the future.

I've thought long and hard about responding to this thread some time back when it first commenced, but I don't think Mike has enough room on his server for me to fully comment—and I'm just too damn tired tonight. ;) Suffice to say, CDs are it for me: have been since 1989, will continue to be in the years ahead. The format will not die; it will just become another cog in the music software machine, in small quantities pressed sure, but still persevering. And you know what? If for any reason the format does cease to exist, and someday they stop making them, I'll just sit back, relax, and enjoy my 18,000+ strong library for my remaining days.

...alright, come to think of it, maybe time to do a quick eBay search for something before it all goes 'poof' tomorrow... ;)
> Anodize / tactile visual audio / /
> Groupthink / wayward electroacoustic murmurings /
> e:

Julio Di Benedetto

Quote from: richardgurtler on January 09, 2011, 08:40:25 AM
To me, it's a piece of art, many times featuring personalized signature of the artist, I have to feel it in my hands, open it, load it into my CD player and taking the journey. I simply need this kind of ritual.

This is what it is all about.....the ritual.  There is simply nothing that can "touch" it.  Without going into a how de ritualized existence we tend to live, without the ritual we are somewhat robbed, or the experience is certainly lessened.

I recently made my first itunes download......Ambiant Otaku, the out of print starting prices waS $82. To rich for me and on top of It I had not really heard the music, so.....the itunes download sort of felt like downloading an app on my iphone.  To my taste it was fast food disrespect to the actual music, love it, just dont like the delivery.  From an archival perspective, Im all for it, but as a first thanks, unless perhaps you pad it out with additional artwork, text, photo's etc..... otherwise its just so cold!

Perhaps with time I will catch up to evolution, or just go extinct!


"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley


Quote from: darren bergstein on January 13, 2011, 09:03:01 PM
I've thought long and hard about responding to this thread some time back when it first commenced, but I don't think Mike has enough room on his server for me to fully comment—and I'm just too damn tired tonight. ;)

Nah, let's hear it, Darren -- full length, let 'er rip!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |


I agree...  Mike's server is plenty big.   go for it!

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] .: owner / artist .: .: .:


I agree with what others have said. I love the convenience and search-ability of a big iTunes library, but I would hate to have no actual CDs (or records) to look through. I like to buy the CD, rip it to my gigantic iTunes library, and then put the CD on the shelf.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |


I'm not too worried about cd's going away, but I did hear a rumor that 45's may be on their way out!  :o  We can't allow that to happen! What will I do with all of the little spindle inserts I still have?
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.


Even a crummy LP pressing like Budd/Eno's The Pearl still has a place in my colection, because of Russell Mill's stunning cover artwork, possibly my favorite of his, even over his images in the More Dark Than Shark book.  A small CD booklet image, or even a high-res digitial one, is no substutute for me.  I'll take the 12"X12" LP cover, hands down.



CDs in LP-sized packages would indeed be fantastic. Unfortunately it would take at least four CDs to fill a 12" sleeve with more than just, erm, air...

"Honour thy error as a hidden intention." (Brian Eno)

Anodize DB

Quote from: mgriffin on January 14, 2011, 09:41:14 AM
Quote from: darren bergstein on January 13, 2011, 09:03:01 PM
I've thought long and hard about responding to this thread some time back when it first commenced, but I don't think Mike has enough room on his server for me to fully comment—and I'm just too damn tired tonight. ;)

Nah, let's hear it, Darren -- full length, let 'er rip!

Okay, I'll consider writing a reply, but not for a few days (maybe Sunday). Too busy prepping for tomorrow's OTP show, amongst other things.

I know you'll all be waiting with bated breath... ;)
> Anodize / tactile visual audio / /
> Groupthink / wayward electroacoustic murmurings /
> e:


Quote from: hdibrell on January 14, 2011, 01:08:32 PM
I'm not too worried about cd's going away, but I did hear a rumor that 45's may be on their way out!  :o  We can't allow that to happen! What will I do with all of the little spindle inserts I still have?

I can´t remember having seen 7"s for at least fifteen, if not twenty years. The last 7" I recall buying new was Kraftwerk´s 1991 "Radioactivity"...

"Honour thy error as a hidden intention." (Brian Eno)


7" vinyl is still (again?) very popular in the indie rock community.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |

Quote from: mgriffin on January 14, 2011, 10:31:50 AM
I like to buy the CD, rip it to my gigantic iTunes library, and then put the CD on the shelf.

Yeah...that's my habit about 80% of the time although I rip to FLAC and not iTunes.  So I'm not so much anti-CD, just anti-CD player, although I still have several of them.

Think of the file option has just opening up new and different ways to do things with your CDs if you prefer.

So you can leaf through your CDs/LPs, thoroughly study and absorb the printed materials, and then fondle the disc as it goes into the player AND/OR you can do all the things I listed above with files taken from the discs.

It's all good...for me.


well..this kind of goes along with CD's but they keep announcing the demise of DVD's and blu-rays(blu-rays are going to be around for a few more years anyways) and that streaming and digital downloads are the thing of the future...
uhhh..right...:(, if they can make the digital downloads and streaming look as good and sound as good as Blu-ray and no.2. when the stupid ISP's are not going to throttle one for downloading such huge files, etc....
Twitter: ImagineerR


Yes, that is right mike. Joy division,who keep mining their back catalog of 2 albums and singles ( who by the way are brilliant and influenced a generation ) just put out a box set of 10 seven inch singles and sold out,i think the run was 10 000.So more a collectors thing but someone is buying it. I have all the original 7 inch singles still.
And yes,in the last year,that has been my habit as well,buying  the cd and putting into iTunes right away but still listening to the cd on my cd player as well.

Scott Raymond

  I've been thinking about this one for a while, and after talking it over with Darren, I've decided
to put my $.02 in. It's a bit long winded, but I'll try not to put you to sleep. Honest. We're in a
rare situation here as the people who make and sell the music interact closely with the people who
buy and enjoy the music. This way, we get to learn from each other, find out what matters to each
other. This is obviously a contentious issue and isn't going away anytime soon. It's something that
we're all passionate about, from those who don't want CD's to go away, to those who see downloads as
the future. Think back to where we were 5 years ago. This wouldn't be as serious a discussion then.
10 years ago, downloads were in their infancy. 15 years ago, I was writing a monthly column for a
trade magazine called New Age Voice about the Internet. Back then, it was big news if an artist or
label even had a website. Where will we be in 5 years? 10? 15? There's definitely an evolution going
on here. I'm not sure where it's headed, but there's still tons of great music being made, and
that's what really matters.

  As a DJ at an independent radio station, I see a lot of this firsthand. We're in the midst of a
years-long project to archive all our CD's onto hard drives. We're not getting rid of CD's, just
backing them up and making it easier for those DJ"s that are all digital (yes, there are some). But
at the same time, there's still physical media. I see new cassettes from indie bands in our
playlist. As Mike pointed out, indie bands are still making 7" singles. And we still get a few vinyl
records from time to time. I don't think any of those are making a comeback. I think they're just
filling niches. I think physical media will be with us for a while. Collectors like having a
physical product to hold. And performing artists need something to sell at concerts. But I think
that more and more, physical media will be the niche, and downloads (or perhaps streaming "cloud"
music, or something else) will become the norm.

  I grew up listening to classic rock on a crappy portable radio, then my dad's 8-tracks, then LP's
on my mom's stereo. I went to NYC often on record buying trips in the mid to late 80's and came back
with bags full of vinyl that I'd listen to for weeks. I bought my first CD player in 1985. My first
CD? Eddie Jobson's Theme Of Secrets. Still one of my all time favorites. I remember the first promo
CD an independent artist ever sent to me. That was a big deal at the time. There was a time when the
only way independent musicians and labels could release music was on cassette. Now well over half of
the music I get comes from downloads, either directly from the artists/labels, or from sites like
Emusic or Bandcamp. I love having something to hold in my hands, and the recording quality matters a
lot to me. But if the music's good, then the method of delivery isn't as important to me. I listened
to my dad's 8-tracks over and over again. As horrible as the sound quality was, I loved the music.

  What's been missing from this thread, and most of the others like it that I read, is the economics
of the situation from the musician/label point of view. What little I've read, and what people have
told me privately (which I won't repeat without permission) scares me. From the sounds of it, CD"s
simply aren't selling, unless you're a performing musician. I'd really like to hear more about this.
If not sales figures, then at least something that gives me more of an idea how things are going,
both for those that rely on CD sales and those that have moved more into downloads. There are a lot
more options for musicians/labels these days for download sales. Besides obvious outlets like Itunes
and CD Baby, there are others like Emusic and Bandcamp, which I've been using a lot lately. There
are different pricing options, even "pay what you want". I'm not addressing the netlabel/free
download part of it here, as I want to hear more about the economics. Are musicians/labels still
selling CD's? Are downloads selling? What makes more sense financially? We may get upset when a
musician or label stops selling CD"s and goes download only, but we have to remember that there's
usually an economic reason for it. The more we understand this, the better. There are
musicians/labels that have stopped releasing music or have gone on hiatus because it isn't
financially viable for them. Sad, but true.

  From the listeners point of view, we should talk more about the value of music. With so many
people illegally downloading music online, the big worry is that music will have no value. We need
to look at what we value about music, and how we can retain that value. Collectors find value in a
physical product, and don't find value in what's essentially a file on their hard drive. That's
fine, but if one of your favorite musicians releases a download only project, will you ignore it
because it has no value to you? In another forum, a band released an album of music as a free
download as a thank you for their fans. And someone was upset because they didn't offer it for sale
as a CD. To me, he's missing the point. It was a gift, and a nice one at that. I downloaded it,
loved it, and am playing it on my show. When O Yuki Conjugate released The Euphoria Of Disobedience,
their first album in something like 10 years, I wanted it. I'm a huge fan. And since I couldn't get
a promo copy, I had to choose between spending $30 for a limited edition release in special
packaging, or get it from Emusic (which cost something like $2). The economics of the situation
forced me to go with Emusic. And it still blew me away. I value my download files as much as I do my
CD"s. And though I get lots of promos, I still buy music sometimes, when I can't get an album any
other way. And lately the economics of my situation mean that if I can get a download for less, than
I will.

  The economics from the listener point of view (and I still consider myself one) is that most of us
have very limited budgets. MOre and more, we have to look for the value in any product. CD's might
not be going away, but more and more artists and labels are turning to downloads. As a listener,
will you spend your money on a CD? Or will you opt for a download? What are you willing to forgo, a
physical product, or the music itself? IN my case, I want to hear the music. If it's a CD, great. If
it's a download, that's fine too. If you opt for downloads, you have to accept that some
artists/labels prefer releasing CD's. Perhaps if enough of you speak up on the subject, they will
offer downloads *cough* Hypnos *cough*. If you want a CD, you have to accept that certain albums may
only be available as a download. Again, if enough of you speak up on the subject, perhaps they will
listen and offer a CD. And the musicians/labels out there need to decide which way to go. If it's
financially viable to keep releasing CD's, great. If it's a download release, then still make it
something people will value. Some labels may find a niche releasing download albums on CD. Others
may find that releasing CD's is simply no longer a viable option for them. It isn't easy for either
side, musician/labels or listeners. The more we understand each other, the better we'll all get
through this.

Scott Raymond
Scott Raymond
16 Penn St.
Fishkill, NY 12524


Very nicely put, Scott.

And good to see a stress on the financial side of this discussion. Many listeners think its merely a choice for artists and labels to release download only, when in fact it is very often forced on them. They do not have the finances to pay for pressed releases, and often don't have the time to deal with putting together that product and later shipping the physical orders ... which is a very time consuming pastime. If there were lots of labels willing to pay for pressings and deal with shipping there would no doubt be many more physical releases, but there simply are not. And in the end I think its making the music available that really counts.
The Circular Ruins / Lammergeyer / Nunc Stans


Well said Scott .
This original thread was about limited edition runs at a higher cost,to make it more collectable.seems the entire industry is going the other way but there is a place for both.
Also what has not been mentioned is the age of all these posters,the newer ones.someone who is 20 or 25 will have a different attitude than someone who is 45 or 50, the next generation as it where.
I can strongly recommend a book about the economics of the record industry that goes a long way in explaining why we are where we are.
Appetite for self destruction by Steve knopper,read it several months ago,learned many new things about the cost of CDs and can find it most places. 


Well for me the CD isn't dead, I guess it will survive another 20-30 years at least. It may be dead in the mainstream "music" market, where the music often isn't even worth the few cent of the polycarbonate... But the music enthusiasts, like myself, the collectors (just as for vinyl) will always be willing to pay for a physical media, so in my opinion there will always be enough demand to release CDs, even if limited to 1000 copies or whatever. So even if the Cd might become a "niche" market, it will survive, and that's all that matters to me.

Personally I've been collecting metal, ambient and Berlin School metal CDs for about 12 years, and downloads have never been an option for me, except for free stuff like excellent netlabels like Earth Mantra etc. If I remember well so far I've bought 6 FLAC downloads from MusicZeit: albums by Redshift, Radio Massacre International and Keller&Schönwälder that are out of print. So there was no choice. Otherwise, the CD is always the medium I look for.

Each CD that arrives is converted to high quality OGG or MP3 to listen to the music on my portable Player on my running tours or during my walks with my dog. So like many of you I have that huge file library on my disc, but the physical backup is the most important.