“The Death of the CD Has Been Greatly Exaggerated”

Think the CD is dead? It certainly isn’t feeling well, but it hasn’t expired just jet.  Paul Cashmere of Noise 11 would like us to remember a few things about the compact disc.

When Taylor Swift fans went to music stores to buy her new release ‘1989’ Noise11 researched the claim that “the CD is dead” and found it a long way from the truth.

A breakdown of first week sales in the USA shows that only 50% of Taylor’s 1.298 million first week sales with digital. The rest were physical CD sales.

In Australia last week the percentage of Taylor Swift CD sales was even bigger. Of her 21,610 sales in week two on sale in the Australian market the ‘1989’ album managed 9,122 download sales compared to 12488 CD sales or about 41% digital sales.

The figures make a farce of “the CD is dead” naysayers. Their ‘death of the CD’ call sounds like that “bring out your dead” scene in the Monty Python Holy Grail movie.

Of the Top 10 albums in Australia in the past week four albums did better digitally but two of those were split fairly evenly.

The Calvin Harris ‘Motion’ album was the clear download winner with 6879 downloads to 1211 in its debut week before stores were fully stocked.

Flight Facilities ‘Down To Earth’ also had a good download week with 1418 download sales to 748 CDs.

The other two Triple J’s ‘Like A Version 10’ and Hilltop Hoods ‘Walking Under Stars’ were more evenly divided. ‘Like A Version’ sold 1457 downloads to 1421 CDs and ‘Walking Under Stars’ sold 1225 downloads to 1079 CDs.

Along with Taylor Swift ‘1989’ the Top 10 albums selling better on CD were:

2. Human Nature – Jukebox sold 8827 CDs to 815 downloads
4. Ed Sheeran – X sold 4199 CDs to 3438 downloads
5. Soundtrack – Frozen sold 2726 CDs to 509 downloads
7. Slipknot – 5 The Gray Chapter sold 1770 CDs to 643 downloads
9. Barbra Streisand – Partners sold 2138 CDs to 105 downloads

Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on ““The Death of the CD Has Been Greatly Exaggerated”

  • November 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I hope people keep crowing about CDs being dead. That way when I dig through the racks at Value Village I find better selections for 3 bucks apiece.

    Enjoy your mp3 and the tiny digital picture of the album cover. I’ll have superior audio quality and packaging with a booklet, lyrics, photos, liner notes, etc. in a format that I actually own and can do with whatever I like.


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