Sunday, January 07, 2007

Music Executives Admit That CD's Suck

This is a really interesting article from the Houston Press on the death(Thank you-Jesus!) of the CD.

I have always hated the CD. For one thing I cannot keep them from getting scratched. Right now I have a towering pile of of naked CD's on our library stereo, CD's just laying on the dashboard of the car and a few more on the computer brain-all just laying there. I remember some 13-14 years ago a friend of ours had these little CD's (remember them?) they contained as much music as the crappy CD's we all have now but like the old "floppy disks" they were encased in plastic and the disk only came out of it's sleeve inside the player. You could shake a playing mini disk with all your might and feel triumphant if you could get a single skip out of it. I quit buying CD's when I saw that. I figured I wait until the price of players came down and the market switched over to the mini disk.

And then nothing. Oh, that's right they don't scratch and fall apart after a year or so.Can't have that.

When I was a teenager and the local Las Vegas radio station (92.3 KOMP) was getting ready to make the switch. They made a big hoopla about announcing the exact time that they would march into the future. We were about to listen to the crystal clear sound of a new age. The song came on, sang one line and started skipping. Well, that about sums up the age of the CD
I am thinking about hunting down a turntable and picking up some vinyl. Well, my personal rant in over for today. This article from the Houston Press is long but says pretty much in print what you've been thinking about music for a few years now.

Sales of CDs are falling faster than you can say iPod

By John Nova Lomax Article Published Jan 4, 2007

Last month, EMI Music Chairman and Chief Executive Alain Levy walked up to a podium at the London Business School and told an assemblage of bright-eyed young titans of tomorrow something that, in all likelihood, they already knew full well.

"The CD as it is right now is dead," he said. As usual, the big brass at the very pinnacle of the industry seemed the last to know. Levy's remark came towards the end of a year in which the 89-store national retail chain Tower Records went bankrupt and announced that all of its stores will soon shutter. Online giant iTunes cracked the top ten music retail outlets for the first time ever, and the only places CDs actually sold well were stores like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

And yet it remains too early to say that the CD is dead, as in buried in a casket underground. It's certainly terminally ill, condemned, a dead medium walking. Indeed, sales of CDs still dwarf digital sales, to the tune of $6.45 billion to $945 million worldwide. But CD sales are sliding, a little faster and steeper every year. People tend to buy less music as they grow older, and the CD audience is pretty much exclusively aged 30 and up. Very few teenagers buy CDs, and what's more, just about every music retailer will tell you that those who do will end up burning that CD for a few friends.

CD sales fell a further 4 percent from 2005's numbers in the first half of 2006, according to figures cited in the UK newspaper The Guardian. "We figure the value of CD sales will be 50 percent less in three years than it is now," said Ged Doherty, the UK head of the Sony BMG label group. "We predict digital growth of 25 percent per year, but it is not enough to replace the loss from falling CD sales. By 2010 we will be 30 percent behind in terms of revenues. We have to reinvent."

As Fats Domino once sang, "Ain't that a shame." But the record labels brought all this on themselves. Looking back over the past 45 years, it is now plain that the move from vinyl to CD was not the bold step forward we were told it would be. CDs were not scratch-proof (as the labels had us believe early on), nor was the sound an improvement on vinyl -- indeed, most audiophiles argue that their sound is inferior. Jewel cases were ridiculously brittle -- they were rendered useless by a drop of four feet or so -- and they were hard to open, as were the huge and idiotic long-boxes CDs were packaged in well into the 1990s. Their visual appeal was almost always minimal and yet they took up what now seems like a lot of shelf space. Read the rest here.

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