back to article Compact Disc death foretold for 2012

The major record labels are planning to kill off the CD format by the end of next year to make way for digital downloads only. That's the claim made by music site Side-Line which says it heard whispers that the end of the CD is nigh from music industry insiders. That said, it has failed to get any official confirmation from the …

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WTF?

So what the f**k is someone who actually cares about audio fidelity supposed to listen to music on after that? Mp3 is crap, so is AAC , and FLAC is too much of a faff to get it to play through a proper hifi rather than shitty PC speakers.

Just goes to prove the music business doesn't give a flying one about quality.

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Quality

I think most of the trash put out by the record labels these days is far better for not being reproduced properly. Frankly haven't heard a record in about 15 years that I'd actually want to hear again - never mind buy.

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alright, alright...

...i'm getting off your lawn, now hush.

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WTF?

I'll bite

What's a "proper hifi" ?

Did you manage to find some sort of digital speakers which digitally control the position of the cone of the speaker so that using a CD produces better results than using audio streamed from the a mini PC using TOSLINK to a stereo decoder? Also, how hard is it to open Nero and drag and drop FLAC files to a CD or DVD-AUDIO disc for burning?

Using a D/A connected to a MOSFET AT THE SPEAKER, hell they can embed it in the speaker if they wanted is the only way you can create a proper HI-FI. I can make a much higher quality stereo amplifier for $10 a speaker than any company you name can for $1000 a speaker by simply eliminating analog up to the last several millimeters before the speaker coils. And then, I could improve the quality far more by reversing the relationship between the coil and the permanent magnet.

The point being, even if you had solid gold wires forged in a vacuum by a Greek god of old upon his forge of celestial bronze, and shielded in the bra cups of Valkyries reforged by the ghost of Faraday himself, your HI-FI isn't so high... well maybe hi.. but not high. That's like half high.

Quit giving the audio codecs crap... AAC at 24-bit 192Ksamp/sec at 512Kbit/sec produces a SnR far higher than will survive over those crappy ass speaker cables you're using. But of course, even that's bloody overkill unless you're a pretender who thinks they can hear the difference.

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MJI
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Me - DVD-Audio and SACD

If I can find it cheap.

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Overgeneralisation

High bitrate mp3 (256k+) are adequate for all but the best listening environments. Certainly they are more than sufficient for noisy situations like cars & trains & planes. I don't use AAC but I assume it is similar.

FLAC is easy to get into a decent hifi - a squeezebox, sonos or any one of a number of inexpensive streaming solutions connected to a cheap fileserver or a reasonable NAS will produce excellent results. Quite a few modern amps have USB inputs (mine does but I've never used it) and many good hifi companies are providing dedicated streaming solutions. Having your music online so that you can get anything you want more or less instantly has many advantages - I can route my collection to lounge, bedroom or kitchen without carrying disks around.

Having said this, all my music purchases are physical CDs. I then rip them to the format(s) I want and the original disk forms my primary backup and proof of purchase. I might buy downloads if they were in a convenient lossless format but I won't buy lossy music - you can't get back what isn't there. However, for me downloads are less convenient so I would expect to pay significantly less for them than for the physical disk.

TBH, I think this article is probably BS anyway. There was a report on this site yesterday that said CDs will still bring in more revenue than downloads through 2015 and I can't see the big labels voluntarily cutting off more than 50% of their revenue stream.

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End of CDs? Hardly the end of the world, is it? Then again, perhaps it's what the Mayans were predicting...

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mj1
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the day the music (finaly) died

Well I certainly wont pay for any music in a lossy format

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Anonymous Coward

One might be forgiven for presuming from your tone that you're fine with notoriously lossy formats like vinyl?

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Not sure I fully agree with that - its analogue. Any digital format is only ever an approximation of the analogue value so is always lossy - even dvds.

Personally I'm always amused by people that think that dvd/cd's et al are somehow immune to dirt and scratches that used to blight vinyl - I don't have more than about 2 cd's that still play in the car - and they have all been kept in their boxes (which are hardly robust either).

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FAIL

@Dave 15

You might want to replace your car stereo then. My CD collection works fine in the car, every single one. I've had some of those discs for 15 years and they've picked up their share of smudges and scratches in that time. CDs have got pretty sophisticated error correction built in. I've never come across a vinyl record that had that ;)

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Anonymous Coward

"Digital is an approximation"

So is analogue. Everything between the recording artist and your ears are an approximation of what went on. Just because the approximation isn't discrete, doesn't stop it being an approximation.

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MJI
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Vinyl

Less lossy than MP3

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Don't think it will happen

There will always be an impulse buy market for folk wandering in supermarkets, and for people who just prefer having a physical CD in their hands. For weirdo music, then I think the CD will go away.

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If I can't hold it in my hand, I ain't interested...I'm talking CDs here.

This is quite an interesting question. Hanging out with computer muso friends, we've had interesting discussions on releasing their music as downloads, or as a homemade CD. If you just get someone's music as a download, do you place the same value on it as you would with a lovingly designed tangible 'thing' that you can look at and leave on a table or in your huge stack of music CDs on your shelf. There's some kind of psychological connection between the music you hear and the wacky booklet that came with the package, that you don't get by squinting at some piss-poor pdf on your laptop screen.

Perhaps it's just an age thing. Like flicking through (and reading) a physical book is a much more satisfying experience than using an e-reader.

Yes, it's cheaper. Yes, it's convenient. But overall, is it as satisfying?

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Facepalm

Such utter tripe

Such utter codswallop. So the CD is dieing, just like vinyl? They'll always exist, there's means to publish smaller numbers for niche / cottage labels via duplication (as opposed to replication of pressed discs in a plant) but that tipping point of 1,000 discs will always mean there's a market for CDs. Once you get into low thousands, cost per unit is so comparatively minimal (like oldskool DVDs) they'll remain a viable distribution method for some time. Unfortunately it's the warehousing aspect which incurs most cost; we could almost halve the cost of our CDs if we could minimise the warehousing aspect free, it's what sucks up most of the wholesale price and results in us getting a very small return.

CDs are just so darned cost effective when you scale... Also, do not underestimate the twofold demand through by scarcity and the (more and more) 'deluxe' sensation of having full artwork, a CD and packaging to fondle. Intangible MP3s just don't get me excited like a hotly-anticipated CD album arriving in the post. (even though I might download it beforehand)

Sauce? I work at a record label. If anything, we're increasing the amount of CDs we're pressing over the next 12 months.

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well

vinyl actually nearly *did* die; it's had a renaissance lately almost entirely because fans of certain sub-genres decided LPs looked cool (and like turntables). that's it.

CDs have none of the advantages of vinyl - they're not analog so they have no unique sound, they're no easier for a DJ to manipulate than a download, and they have zero cool factor. so I don't think you can reasonably compare CDs now to vinyl 20 years ago, no.

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Happy

CDs will exist so long as you have drives

There's no reason you should have to go to the store and buy a CD... just buy the uncompressed... or higher quality than CD version online and burn your own disc.

I used to work for a guy who also owned a warehouse which contained on average 25 million DVDs and 15 million CDs at any given time. The massive number of discs that were thrown away each month would be enough to make Greenpeace cry.

It's about bloody time this happened... books are SOOOO next.

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FAIL

Drug Sales Still Booming in Music Biz

Considering that CDs are still outselling digital downloads by 2:1, that would be an "interesting" (AKA "insane") decision.

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Facepalm

I got down as far as your comment thinking that this is all BS, it will never happen! Then I read your comment (AKA "insane") and started thinking; hey it's probably true :)

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Sanity considerations have never stopped record companies in the past.

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Anonymous Coward

Downloads

If they don't offer lossless they can f*** right off. Having said that, this could be a great move. What's the point of writing the stereo mixdown files form the studio onto optical discs, packaging and distributing these discs, only for people to copy the files onto their PCs when they get home? Seems rather resource-inefficient...

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MJI
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CDs still usefull

Aparts from the HD music pair CD is still good, I use it a CD changer in the car.

If I downloaded I would have to burn to CD.

Why would I want to pay for compressed music?

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Coat

The next big thing?

But they haven't yet finished putting all the old stuff from vinyl onto CD yet.

How will I preserve my CD collection (which is nearly as old as the format) when the format becomes extinct? Do I wrap th CDs in foil and bury them deep enough to avoid CD-targeted neutron flux? ;-)

When CDs came out, we were told that they'd last a century. Or something like that.

CDs will go the way of cash I guess. You don't need a login to buy a CD legally. You walk into a shop, pick something that you like, pull some change from your pocket and pay for the CD. Nobody need ever know that you're an ABBA fan.

Compare that to downloading... suddenly a million people know what music you like and will keep pestering you with offers until well after the last shovel of sod fills your grave.

Now when you leave the store, they say "Buy! Buy!", not "bye bye".

And all those songs you paid for downloading ... they're in the player somebody just took from your coat pocket.

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g e
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I'll believe it when I see it

The majors make way too much on 'breakage' on physical media and I don't believe the expense of running a building full of lawyers at full steam has yet outweighed the cost of changing business model for them.

As said above though, fuck paying anything over bottom dollar for a lossy format. Mind you a good chunk of the crap that gets churned out is probably made with MP3-Super-Fly-Guy-Deck-DJ Free Edition and 3 crap VST plugins anyway, so it's lossy to start with ;o)

What's the betting they developed some godawful arcane DRM thing they're expecting manufacturers to fit to their gear to support it, demonstrating they STILL don't get life in the 3rd Millennium.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Terminator

You know, I've always wondered why no bricks and mortar shops have changed to embrace a physical shop to sell digital products; I think I would still have use for a shop where I could wander in with my mp3 player of choice, find music arranged competently* by genre, etc and be able to purchase said music for an appropriate** price, having the transfer to the digital device as part of that process.

I fully appreciate that the concept of multiple devices, formats and connectivity would not be the easiest thing in the world to set up, but I certainly don't think it's insurmountable, indeed you could probably ensure it's largely automated to prevent incorrect file formats being purchased.

*Music shop employees are, on average, quite competent, able to suggest appropriate other artists (if you want) and quite capable of assisting in the buying process, which I feel is sometimes lacking in the online methods of song purchasing we have today.

*An Appropriate price would be say, more than itunes of spotify (since they're running a shop) but less than CD's (as there is no physical product)

You know if something like this was created I would buy things there, just as I do with other music.

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"You know, I've always wondered why no bricks and mortar shops have changed to embrace a physical shop to sell digital products;"

The reason they haven't is Apple. I worked for a company a few years ago building kiosk solutions for burning mix CDs and albums in store, we had the major labels and most of the big Indies on board, we knew the CD solution wasn't a long term solution and also had a product to deliver digital to devices through a kiosk ready and waiting for deployment. 40,000 albums worth at the time in a simple, relatively cheap solution.

All the mp3 player manufacturers were on board and working with us apart from one. Apple refused point blank to deal with us, and for that reason the product was dead from the start. Apple don't want point of sale, they want Itunes and the control it gives.

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Interesting. You weren't the guy we spoke to about 20 or so years back were you? We called it CD Trans at the time. Our problem was finding a way to speed up the process (CD burning was relatively slow before 16x and 24x burners).

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Suicidal

If it's true it's suicidal.

Bet it turns out to be bollocks though.

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Not anyday soon

Unless the brick and mortar music stores are also planning to shut down by 2012, or the digital downloads start costing much less than they cost now, I'm not convinced CDs are going to die anytime soon.

In Amazon UK the latest Justin Bieber (don't shoot please, it's only an example) is at £8.99, while the digital download is at £7.49. If (god forbid) I were a Bieber fan, I'd never consider bragging about being the first in the gang to download his latest album - after all who is going to believe me? The excitement of camping outside a music store to be among the first to get the new release is priceless (much more than the £1.5 of the price difference). Same applies to Harry Potter physical books vs e-books. Shopping thankfully is still a social activity and we like most to do it in groups and later on to enjoy our purchases in good company.

To sum up, downloading an album is not an experience - it's a dry banking transaction.

Imagine a world without Apple stores, where people could purchase iToys only electronically... Apple would certainly not have become what it is today.

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Anonymous Coward

camping outside bollocks

Having worked for a brand management and PR company, I know first hand that most of those people "camping out" the night before are being paid to be there. £50 (ish) and the hope of some press/TV coverage. Having been involved at a major department store I can still remember seeing some *actual* sucker come to the end of the employed queue... epic fail.

CDs... stick one on the atheist arc as I don't believe they'll last.

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Quite simply, the market is becoming polarised between lossy downloads and high-resolution multi-channel audio. This would be an example of that trend continuing. I think I'll continue with my DVD-Audio and Blu-Ray audio discs, ta, and so will a pal who's getting into the SACD/DVD-A/BR-A side of things.

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MJI
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What is BR-A?

First I have heard.

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Megaphone

I'll add my voice to the clamour of "well then I won't buy any music". I think I bought one MP3 track from amazon, once. But apart from that, all my music comes on CD.

There's just no replacing the tangibility, or the tantalisingly interesting look of a shelf of CDs. But then, I bet similar things were said by vinyl fans in response to predictions of that medium's death. Enthusiasts might've decried CD (or perhaps, tape) for its lacking the warm, rich, sometimes scratchy sound of a record. And of course vinyl is still, in a smaller way, with us.

The thing that strikes me though is that CDs have special value as a complement to a live performance. Every gig I've ever been to has had a merchandise stall. And they can't really sell downloads there, can they? Not to mention up-and-coming bands who may be able to strike a deal for a studio session, and a CD production run: for to flog from the back of a van in the pub car park after their gigs. I doubt many of these will see uploading their work to the itunes store, for a meagre pecentage of the pence per track it's sold for, as a good alternative.

And finally of course many CD purchases are made for gifting. It really wouldn't be the same to unwrap the paper and find a plastic gift card for an online download in there.

No I think there will always be a place for physical media. And since CD is so prevalent, and so widely accepted as a good format, why change it?

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Facepalm

Why can't they sell downloads there at a merchandise stall?

If they can take my credit card, they can register my email address and send a code for a download. Much easier for me than holding onto a bag with CDs through a concert or post-concert activities.

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FAIL

Shame....

...Progressive Rock albums come with some fantastic artwork. It's just wouldn't be the same downloading an album and a series of jpegs.

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re: Shame

I'll second that. Plus a lot of Prog Rock that I have in 12in format are simply not agailable for digital download.

I'll buy CD's as long as I can. When they are no longer available, I'll simply stop buying Music.

Music Industry? Are you listening? Pah probably not.

I'll get me coat as I'm off to see a prog rock cover band. (Ex Army Greatcoat naturally)

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Trollface

Trolling news item

Isn't the original news item one of those Trolling news items designed to cause "uproar" and lots of page views? Has "side-line.com" ever posted anything of note before?

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Anonymous Coward

30th anniversary

The 2012 date is just an attempt to exploit the 30th anniversary of CDs going prime time. The message will inevitably be that the format is now 30 years old, which makes it ancient, decrepit, worn out, obsolete and simply not as good as state-of-the-art digital formats.

This will cause a stink, forcing the spin doctors to argue that 'not as good' means you have the hassle of going to a shop and dealing with physical media rather than just clicking on a file. They'll focus strongly on this aspect to deflect the complaints about actual sound quality.

The Apple religion will really back the campaign because handling CDs is soooo uncool.

One word of warning though. These have been good times for downloads. But once CDs are finally gone, the price of downloads will rise. The download 'labels' will become as duplicitous and contemptuous toward their punters as record labels ever were. Except at least record labels did something to bring new talent to the fore. Download 'labels' leave all the hard work to the artists themselves and just scoop their profits. Reminds me of the dialogue in Goodfellas where after a business goes to the Mafia for help, all they ever get in return is "f**k you, pay me".

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Divorcee Barbie

Mattel are also releasing Divorcee Barbie.

She doesn't come with any of her own accessories, but she does have Ken's house, Ken's car, half of Ken's pension etc etc....

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must dust off

my cassette player

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing Wrong With Buying A Download

--- But it should be of at least CD quality, if compressed it should be lossless (eg FLAC)

--- There should be no DRM Gotcha. We buy the music, we do what we want with the music

--- There should be no nasty tie-in with iTunes, uTunes or anybodyelseTunes

--- There should be no charging extra for higher-definition digital audio, especially when it is just a rehash of the same CD-quality recording from the old analogue tape.

--- Artists should get a fair royalty, which many did not when vinyl gave way to CD.

I don't trust the music industry on any of these counts

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A nail in the coffin of major labels

If they drop the CD and only allow downloads (likely heavily DRM encumbered), I think the labels will soon face a major customer backlash, especially after the first time one of their DRM servers crashes or they decide to shut down the service, resulting in a lot of people losing their property. Also, it will make loading on different players a serious problem - something that downloaders are already discovering. At least with a CD you can easily make a backup copy (a burnable image on a storage drive or CD-R) or rip the contents to a variety of formats such as Ogg, mp3, flac, etc.

So, no CD's, the labels will get no $$ from me!

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Bandcamp

I'd be rather happier about the idea of moving decisively from CDs to downloads, if the entire music industry adopted the model used by Bandcamp.

If you buy a download from BC, you get the choice of format you want to download in (320K MP3, VBR MP3, FLAC, Ogg and others, and all DRM-free) - I go for FLAC, personally, so I can re-encode to MP3 for non-FLAC-friendly devices. Also, if the artist has included it, your download also includes artwork, printable CD inlays and anything else they've seen fit to throw in.

The artist roster is mostly independents (though some enterprising folk like Imogen Heap and Sufjan Stevens have released material via Bandcamp), but at least a higher proportion of the sales goes to the musicians, and the pricing is often very attractive.

This said, I'd still buy a CD of music which isn't available via lossless formats, and where the sound quality loss of a 128K MP3 would grate (classical, jazz, etc.). Mind you: aren't Amazon MP3s 192K or something?

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FAIL

I have lots of digital downloads...

...trouble is, its on an old pc with a long gone email address so despite backing up the license key im not able to listen to them.

Im not planning on downloading for a long time

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Where did you buy from? Next time try someplace more sensible like the iTunes store or Amazon, which have no DRM.

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Once again the Syco bullshit model of hyped music sales is being forced on us by the copyright mafiaa. Of course they want us to buy downloaded music, but only with their software (I am loathsome to use the word, but I do) app, that will no doubt snoop all over your storage looking for what they think is pirated music!!! Didn’t see that one coming did you….

Meanwhile the Syco model of music promotion continues, take a band/group/artist, give them a big advance^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hloan to make as 12-track record, sorry CD, promote the tile track which will sell well while the other 11 tracks languish on whatever download service has it, then after a few months when Syco have made their profit and recouped their costs form the artists sales, drop them from the label telling they sorry your CD didn’t sell, repeat Ad nauseam.

Meanwhile bands, i.e. real musicians will struggle to make a living, but not because of downloaders.

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Silver badge

Cue price rises

After all they will have to justify the costs of releasing "Dark Side of the Moon" again on a new format.

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Load of bollocks!

Those of us who like to hear every note of the music will still buy CD's

Lossy formats are OK if you are listening through the tinny headphones of your media player but garbage through a decent Hi-Fi system. The record labels know that and I'm quite sure I will be buying them for years to come.

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