Are CDs dead or is CD Audio dead?
People want physical tactile assets dont they? If I hold a CD in my hand I know I can step into most friends homes, cars, even hotel rooms and be pretty confident I can play and share the music experience. You dont get this with downloads and I think thats most consumer's gripe.
However, the music industry is bobbyshafted and the CD Audio format for sure has a short life line ahead simple due to the bottom line on DLoads over Physical CD sales. THe industry also really (really) needs a new strategy on distribution as the number of duplicates for any one track is crazy. Digitally they are trying to reproduced somethine physical so for any one track you will see a CD Single Release, iTunes Release, Extended iTunes bonus GTi release etc etc. My friends in catalogue management tell me most track now have eight releases and they are pretty much identical.
So, my crystal ball can see the end of CD Audio, being replaced with CD Data - i.e. DRM Free MP3 / eAAC+ files on disk or solid state devices. I can retailers burning disks and labelling them at the point of sale. I can even see subscription music servers being served from retail outlets.
CD Audio may be out, but I cannot see how you can eliminate the physical tactile nature of distribution with something as evocotive as Music.
And I'm not getting my coat, thats someone knicking my iMusic along with my music collection, not that Im bothered as I'll rip them from CD again - ah oh hang on...