How the Music Industry is Trying to Save the CD

The music industry is of two minds when it comes to the CD. Some want it just to go away, something that would save them untold millions in manufacturing, transporting and warehousing, not to mention the all the issues involved with accounting and payment. An all-streaming solution to music distribution? They’re all for it.

At the same time, though, tens of millions of CDs are still sold every year. In 2017, 10.2 million units were purchased, which isn’t an insignificant number. While the 2018 number will be even lower, it’s not time to pull the plug just yet. That’s why the labels are doing what they can to keep CDs alive for a while yet.

The Toronto Star has this story on the matter.

Adrian Doran knows he’s clinging onto what many consider an obsolete music format, but for him there’s still plenty to love about compact discs.

Not long ago he made browsing the CD aisles of HMV Canada part of his shopping routine, but when the retailer went bust last spring he was confronted with the possibility of migrating to a streaming music service. He chose to start picking up CDs at his local independent record store instead.

“I just bought into them big time,” the 52-year-old Toronto resident said of his appreciation for CDs.

Whether it’s the inferior sound quality or the inaccessibility of rarities, Doran finds streaming music services don’t stand up to his extensive CD collection. He tried Spotify but couldn’t see past its shortcomings, particularly the missing albums in artists’ back catalogues that were substituted by “greatest hits” packages.

“There’s huge holes,” he said of the selection. “It really surprised me.”

Despite becoming what some dubbed “the year of streaming,” 2017 proved those shiny little discs still have some life left in them. But it isn’t necessarily because of strong consumer demand from holdouts like Doran. It’s because the music industry is trying to stave off the demise of its golden goose any way it can.

Keep 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.

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