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Weekly survey: Are you still buying CDs?

The compact disc had a great run, from its introduction in December 1982 until sales started to plummet in the mid-aughts. That death spiral continues today with sales of the once-dead vinyl format outgrossing revenues from CDs. And when it comes to big, sprawling box sets, the emphasis is on the vinyl instead of the CDs.

In short, it seems that the CD is now the Voldemort of the music industry. Or is it?

What’s your relationship with the compact disc?

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.

Alan Cross has 38449 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

6 thoughts on “Weekly survey: Are you still buying CDs?

  • Still buying weekly. Cd won the war in ’82. Vinyl remains a finicky and inferior format. Feels like record companies have a new way to charge 40$+ for physical format. I’m enjoying the (superior) bargain bins.

  • First, congratulations on 40 years in radio.

    As for CDs, I bought just over 20 of them in the month of October. I crossed the 2000 milestone in June. Between reissues and new releases, I visit a music store fairly often.

  • Congrats on 40! I started listening to you sometime around ’88 or ’89.

    I’m only buying CDs on the rarest of occasions and it’s mostly for rare Christmas music. The only CD I bought this year was Darlene Love’s It’s Christmas Of Course, because its not streaming and she did a version of XTC’s Thanks For Christmas, Billy Squire’s Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You, and Tom Petty’s Christmas All Over. All of which were kind of meh. But her version of Pretender’s 2000 Miles is delightfully soulful and touching… she really made it her own.

    I know, Christmas music, right? About 15 years ago I started a Xmas Playlist in my Ipod that essentially was Christmas music that doesn’t suck. From there it became a quest to find holiday music that was fun to listen to, not overplayed, and in many cases unearthed gems. I started compiling a 90 minute playlist every year and streaming it for all my friends. I usually start making it in November and it really puts me in the spirit. I’m totally a Christmas dork and I don’t care!

    Got off on a tangent there, so CD’s. I put about 2,500 CDs in 8 binders, sometime around 2013, ripped them to MP3s, and stowed them away in a closet. Once in a blue blue blue blue moon, if the right few people are over, and just enough booze has been quaffed, I’ll pull out the binders and we’ll have a “CD Party.”

  • Still purchase CD’s occasionally. Latest purchase was the Tragically Hip 30th Anniversary edition of Road Apples. I believe that it was $100 or so less than the vinyl version.

  • I stopped buying CDs some time ago and went to streaming. Then went back to vinyl to better support artists but am switching back to CDs. No matter how hard I try, I just don’t like the imperfections of vinyl. I know that’s part of the lure, but having experienced first hand the transition from vinyl to CDs in the 80s and how nice it was to not hear snaps and crackles, I want that sound back. I like the larger format of vinyl, though.

  • Exactly, I hate the imperfections of vinyl, and “warmth”. When vinyl is working perfectly, it sounds about as good as CD to me. When it’s not, I’m reminded of why we were so quick to dump the format in the first place.


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