More Cars Are Being Sold without CD Players

Do you have a CD player in your car? I do, but with the radio, my iPhone and satellite radio, I can’t remember the last time I used it. Then over the weekend, I happened to notice that my wife’s Honda CR-V is CD player-free–and we’ve had the vehicle for almost a year.

According to Record of the Day, about 20 percent of all new vehicles sold this year will come without a CD player. They haven’t reached the level of factory-installed cassette players–I don’t think there’s a single manufacturer that still offers a factory cassette player–but the number of CD machines in new cars will decline to 50 percent by 2020.

Car companies are embracing the digital music revolution at an accelerating rate, with latest figures suggesting 20 per cent of new vehicles sold in the UK this year will be delivered without CD players as auto manufacturers increasingly turn to connected technology.
And new research commissioned jointly by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and the BPI, which represents UK record labels, from specialist auto industry consultancy SBD, reveals that internet-based audio is likely to overtake CD in new cars by 2021.

But alongside the more familiar on-demand streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster and SoundCloud, a complementary breed of web radio specialists are helping to lead the charge in in-car entertainment, including TuneIn, Aupeo and Aha.

Whilst the long-term trend points towards a fully digitally connected car, the compact disc continues to show its remarkable resilience. With new car sales typically representing less than 10 per cent of the cars on the road (2014: 8 per cent) and CD players set to be in more than half of new cars for at least five years, the compact disc is likely to remain part of our in-car listening experience for many years to come.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “Cars are the second most popular environment for listening to music after our homes, so are a key part of the music ecosystem. Manufacturers design their models a good four to five years before they hit the road, which in the past has seen in-car listening follow trends in music consumption rather than lead them, but rapid advances in automotive design suggests that in-car technology will play a far bigger role in shaping how we listen to music in the future.”

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

3 thoughts on “More Cars Are Being Sold without CD Players

  • November 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I have a six-CD changer in my 2006 Subaru. I’ve been in many cars with USB drives, internal hard drives, or the ability to play data CDs (full of music). It’s frightening to watch the driver search for even just an artist, let alone dig deeper for an album or track. None of that ends up being accomplished with their eyes on the road for driving. And no, the latest “sophisticated” and/or voice response systems from various manufacturers do not solve the problem, as the driver *must* take their eyes off the road. Thanks to the physical buttons on older cars with CD players, it is actually possible to do that and keep your eyes on the road – as long as you know which of the CDs in the player you want.

  • November 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I use mine all the time and love it. The CD is still my preferred format of listening to music, both at home and in the car.


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