View Full Version : How long will the music industry use CD's?

12-24-14, 05:02 PM
I've enjoyed electronic devices for a long time, but there's one thing I don't enjoy: paying for something that will be discontinued. I'd like to purchase a CD but don't want to buy it if they're not going to be made anymore.

I feel the same way about DVDs and the conversion to blu-ray.

Will artists and musicians stop making physical CD's, soon? Where do you see the direction in how music is played and purchased by consumers? I don't want to waste my money.

12-24-14, 05:28 PM
It will be purchased online and downloaded. Same with movies.

Optical discs will be obsolete in a few years.

12-24-14, 05:43 PM
I'm not sure what the answer to your question is, but my guess is that CD's aren't going anywhere anytime soon. I haven't bought a CD in ages - I prefer to buy mp3's, but I suspect many people will still want to buy a physical album for a long time. (I would if I had more time).

Even 30 years later we haven't really trumped the CD (my understanding is that dvd's and blue rays are just higher capacities). I think it's because the CD is nearly perfect with little to improve. Cassettes were a massive improvement over vinyl and CD's were and even more dramatic improvement - no moving parts. A CD or DVD can theoretically last forever. They can be used over and over and even be made as small as we like. Other than mass-storage, it's not even clear you would ever want something smaller than a mini CD. (It's like in the early 2,000's we had those little cell phones about the size of a d-cell battery cut in half lengthwise. It just wasn't an improvement.)

Right now solid state is all the rage - and solid state is AWESOME but it's not better than a music CD. It's probably more fragile.

Though what do I know? I remember in the late 80's I said that CD-rom drives were stupid and a passing fad. (In my defense, "CD-ROM 2X" sucked!) I also recall working over a summer to upgrade my computer to an 80386 and 8-Meg ram and being so excited because I KNEW that I would NEVER (and I actually meant never ever) need anything faster than that.

So clearly my opinion is not so reliable.. ;) (once more in my defense,.. I was about 11 or 12)

12-24-14, 05:52 PM
With due respect to Steve, listen to me. This is my field.

12-24-14, 05:54 PM
Just to clarify, I think CD's will get better, faster, denser and more durable,.. But I don't think the form factor or medium will change any time soon. So newer drives taking newer CD's (or BR's) will probably be backwards compatible.

We went from kinetic vinyl, to magnetic cassettes, to optical CD's... What's next? Sound and vibrations? That's vinyl. Optics are pretty efficient.
Maybe it will all go to solid state, but I'm not sure why.. It would only make it more volatile and fragile with little upside.

This of course presumes that people will still care to buy physical albums.

And that tomorrow someone doesn't present the world with something we all haven't thought of.

12-24-14, 05:55 PM
You could definitely be right, Abi. The only thing I know for sure is that I have no idea.

12-24-14, 06:06 PM
This of course presumes that people will still care to buy physical albums.
It seems like technological advances condense and reduce things, like the card catalog of yesterday's libraries.

12-24-14, 06:23 PM
I think music as a "product" is evolving. What's being sold? Just the song? Will more revenue have to come from performances and commercial licensing with no physical sales? Will the industry figure out a way to continue providing a physical "thing" that we value.

I don't think the question is evolution of the medium or technology. It's more the evolution of music as a "product". The mediums have already changed the game entirely. It's not like CD's are succumbing to a better mouse-trap the way cassettes did; the market is actually challenging the essence of the product and how it is marketed and packaged. Like Abi said, if the industry can't find a "thing" to sell us, it will just all be downloaded.