back to article Music on plastic discs still popular, apparently

Every year the story's the same – but every year it is stranger to report. People continue to buy pre-packaged plastic music discs – most containing as little as one album – despite the rise in digital album sales, the cheaper option of listening on demand, and the risk-free option of downloading entire discographies in one go. …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I like CD's

    I have yet to buy any music online. Why? Well I prefer to have something I can touch, see and if the need arises, sell!

    I have in the past used unauthorised sources to download music, once I have 'auditioned' the music I either delete it or buy the CD. This method works great for me, as it means I don't end up with hundreds of those 'one hit wonder' CD's such as Reef's album.

    I will continue to use this method, my CD collection is sitting around a healthy 400-500 albums and is increasing year on year, whilst it still can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re "I have in the past used unauthorised sources to download music"

      You, Sir/Madam, are a criminal and need to be locked away!

      (Anon for my own download activities)

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        @AC 10:27

        Needs to be locked up for his own sanity...even bothering to give Reef the time of day!

        ( Allowing Sony to use one of their tracks in an advert for Minidiscs of all things, they can't have been right in the head to start with! )

    2. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      crusing the music blogozone

      an Anonymous Coward sez on 06.28.11 @09:57gmt:

      "I have in the past used unauthorised sources to download music, once I have 'auditioned' the music I either delete it or buy the CD..."

      Bravo. A very sensible policy. Myself, I've bought most of my CDs as replacements for my worn-out vinyl copies of the same albums -- Blonde On Blonde, Sgt. Pepper, Are You Experienced, Dark Side, Quadrophenia, Slayed?, etc. -- and have never had much need to listen before I buy.

      I also spend a lot of time in the music collectors' blogozone, although my interests lie mostly in "bootleg" live footage -- I was a proud member of the Deadhead "tapers' underground" back in my tour-following days -- or in obscure old stuff that's been out of print for decades, and often exists only on vinyl, having never been reissued on CD. A lot of my favorite old early/mid '60s surf punk and "garage" rock'n'roll falls into this category. A large part of my music collection these days comes in the form of stuff ripped from old '45s and LPs, courtesy of collector/bloggers who hit used record shops, estate sales, garage sales and junk shops in search of really cool old "garage" tracks recorded by long-forgotten bands on small regional labels long gone out of business -- the kind of funky old shit I couldn't find on iTunes in a million years.

  2. Citizen Kaned

    hmmm

    the thing is that if you look around you can often find the CD for the same price as an MP3 download. so im im not in a rush for the music i buy the CD. i can then rip it lossless if i want and i have a physical copy, that is worth some money.

    downloads need to be much cheaper than physical as you dont own anything with value. its like the games on ps3 network are the same price as if you buy the game from a shop. physical media is actually worth something!

  3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Advantages of plastic discs

    They're better quality than an MP3 download and I'm more confident that I'll be able to play it in the distant future. They also *don't* cost any more than the download option, but that's probably just a reflection of my taste in music.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Advantages of Plastic discs

      I wouldn't count on being able to play CDs in the distant future.

      I currently have 1 CD drive in the house in my laptop and 1 in the car.

      I have 0 cassette tape players.

      Providing you store your digital music in a non proprietary format it will continue to be supported for years to come.

      Most mp3 downloads these days are either top rate variable or 320k constant. These days I'm about 50/50 between buying mp3s and buying CDs which are immediately ripped to mp3. If I cared about the virtually non-existent difference between mp3 and CD I would buy CDs and rip them to flac.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        CDs in the distant future.

        "I wouldn't count on being able to play CDs in the distant future."

        That will be the future where blu-rays will also be phased out, because right now, I have not seen a single device that can play blu-rays and will refuse to play (*redbook) CDs, or DVDs for that matter, because they were deemed incompatible.

        *redbook being the standard for CD-Audio that every manufacturer should abide to. It was actually covered in red, and an actual paper-solid book. Brochure at least, memory fails.

      2. Annihilator
        Boffin

        @Fuzz

        "I currently have 1 CD drive in the house in my laptop and 1 in the car"

        Fortunately CD players are disguised in DVD/BD players, game consoles, etc. I think an optical drive will exist to some degree for quite some time. Bear in mind you can still buy a cassette or record player today if you want.

        CD *is* a non-proprietary format, well certainly the Red Book standard is and is a perfect way to keep your music. It may be owned and licensed by Philips, but in much the same way that mp3 is subject to a number of patents and licensing - primarily the Fraunhofer Society.

        Besides, you're comparing format and medium. To compare CD directly to mp3 is incorrect - comparing 16-bit Liner PCM with mp3 is correct. Comparing CD to whatever medium your mp3s are stored on is correct also and whatever you're storing them on has the same potential futureproofing issues as CDs.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Plastic disc players

          Just bought a burner recently it does everything from BD to CD

          Quick survey

          3 BD

          7 DVD including a DVD burner with broken CD laser

          5 CD

          And we have 3 MD, 2 turntables, and a few cassette decks*.

          * No working Dolby C ones though

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Better

      That sort-of nails it in the head. CDs ARE better quality than virtually all (if not actually all) downloads (the legal ones, anyway). It is a tired old argument but WHY would I want to pay the same amount for a cruddy quality, DRMed download when I can buy a CD. And the CD won't go "poof" and vanish when my computer crashes and wipes out all those DRM licenses.

      Having said this, I wandered into HMV the other day to try and find a CD and was amazed at how few they actually stocked now. I felt a bit like Griff Rhys Jones in that classic "Not The Nine O'Clock News" sketch - "I'd like to buy a gramophone..."

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Spot on

        I don't listen to the CDs - I play them once to rip them in a lossless format (WMA if you must know, lol) then stream them via my Touch. I grew up with records and one of the touted benefits of CDs was supposed to be the improvement in quality. Then along comes MP3 and its ilk.

        If someone would sell me lossless compressed mainstream music then I'd buy it. I refuse to put anything MP3 through my hifi. I can tolerate maximum variable bit rate WMA but really it has to be lossless for home listening.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        "I'd like to buy a gramophone..."

        was said by Mel Smith, not GRJ.

        GRJ was the sarcastic shop assistant.

    3. AdamWill

      yup

      It's really just as simple as the first for me. As long as no-one's offering a sensibly interoperable (no thanks, iTunes) store which sells music in a standard lossless format, I'll stick with the CDs, thanks.

    4. Johnr
      Megaphone

      Buy Used

      I wait until they have been out for 6 months or so and then snag a used CD usually for 2-5 bucks . Way cheaper than the download...and you own the sucker with no DRM

    5. N13L5
      Pint

      exactly the problem with downloads

      I have NEVER once bought a download, cause I have not seen anything uncompressed.

      Certainly I wouldn't buy an MP3 album for the same price as a CD, that's just obviously getting ripped off.

      I wouldn't even buy them if they were cheaper than CD's, cause you can easily hear the difference over good speakers.

      Far better to buy CD's and then convert to the format of your preference.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I prefer CDs over downloads...

    ...in the same way as I prefer books to an electronic copy on a book reader.

    Also, once I've ripped it to my digital devices, it can sit on the shelf as the ultimate backup copy!

    Pity I can't rip or burn books. Oh, wait...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Quality

    As I'm sure many other people will comment, it's about the quality. I download a lot of stuff in FLAC, and for those occasions where I am unable to find a FLAC version, I will buy the cd. Funnily enough, that means buying obscure French and German acts, which I think is great, because I support small-time acts. U2 otoh can suck it.

    1. irish donkey
      Devil

      Can we use U2 Tax Avoidance

      As a justification for downloading their music for free?

      They steal from us when they avoid tax, they cost people their jobs and livelihoods. So Quid pro quo

      And don't quote that global tax complaint $hit. They moved so they could pay less tax. Greedy bastards and they were $hite at Glasto as well

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Erm?

        Just what tax are they avoiding?

        If I move to Monaco or some other tax haven then why should I pay taxes to the UK? your place of birth is not really important if you aren't living there. You're not obliged to pay taxes to the country where you are born.

  6. Ogi
    Thumb Up

    I prefer CD's

    They have the following abilities:

    * Lossless copy, so I can always transcode it to any new improved format that comes out, without having to rebuy it on "mp5" or whatever comes next.

    * I can format shift to my hearts content without anyone stopping me, or with loss of quality that comes from lossy->lossy transcoding.

    * DRM Free: I can rip it and store it losslessly, with no problems, no major hoops to jump through, etc...

    * Does not rely on the net. Some DRM requires activation etc... that requires the internet. I don't always have the internet on me.

    * Works just about everywhere. Just about everything has a CD player, my car, portable ones, hifi decks, friends places.

    * No hassle. Put the CD in, hit "play" and you're done. No need to install, activate stuff, confirm who you are, etc...

    * OS agnostic. I am 100% Linux at home, and have been since 1999, A lot of DRM schemes don't work on Linux. I don't want to have a windows box kicking round just for listening to music.

    * I get a physical backup, usually with cover art etc... that seems to hold well with age. I have some of my parents CD's, that are almost 30 years old, and still play perfectly (interesting to see how solidly the old disks were built, they actually feel heavier than modern CD's) .

    As it stands, I intend to keep buying CD's until they refuse to stock them anymore. Don't know what I'd do then, hopefully someone will over a lossless online store.

    Saying that, a lot of people I know buy CD's, just that nobody actually goes to the high street to do it. I buy almost all my CD's second hand. Either at the charity shop, a small local music store, or on Amazon, where the 1-click buy and low prices (£1.50) result in me buying CD's impulsively.

    The only annoyance is that they take up space, and I have to move them when I move house as well, but I consider that a small price to pay for the benefits and freedom it brings.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title goes here

    By having the physical media you have control. You can use it with any device and are not locked to one vendor.

    As to highstreet stores. They never have stock and are more expensive that an onlnie outlet.

    1. SteveBalmer
      Stop

      I used to think lots of people also thought like this

      But then I look at Kindle sales and see that consumers really are braindead idiots.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Excellent work trashing Kindle users on a CD article.

        Of course, you could be talking bollocks.

        Nothing wrong with the Kindle. I have more books than I know what to do with, and have legally not paid a penny.

        Who's braindead now?

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          An inconvenient truth...

          Of course there is something wrong with the Kindle.

          The content is encumbered with DRM. It is tied to the device. An durable open standard that has endured for centuries is reduced to a fleeting single vendor standard.

          It's the same problem as any content from iTunes that isn't music.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            well, encumbered-ish

            stripping the DRM from Kindle files isn't exactly complicated. or difficult to find the instructions for...

            or, er, so I've heard. ahem.

            1. Steven Roper

              The other thing wrong with the Kindle

              is that Amazon can reach into it and delete content you've paid for without your knowledge or consent. Which to my way of thinking is theft, but nothing was ever really done about it. Remember the 1984 fiasco a few years ago? I haven't forgotten, and I will still never buy a Kindle because of it.

      2. Cunningly Linguistic

        Not taking into account...

        ...the many books that aren't available on paper of course.

  8. OldBiddie

    Nothing barmy about it

    Some of us prefer a physical product we can touch and do with as we please, often available for less than the cost of iTunes tie-ins if you look around the various online retailers.

    1. Bunker_Monkey
      Thumb Up

      Indeed..

      Some of us love to be able to grop a large black 12" plastic disk and watch it spin around at 33/45 or whatever speed you prefer...

      Especially when you discover you own a limited pressing of a one off remix.... and the smell of a new Technics 1210 mk2.. You dont get that with a 192kb mp3!

  9. P Saunders
    Thumb Up

    CDs have many advantages

    If your backup goes tits up they make a handy coaster/mobile/lethal frisbee.

    1. Jock in a Frock
      Coffee/keyboard

      @ P Saunders

      You, sir, owe me a new keyboard.

      Lethal Frisbee - I think that's my new forum name from here on......

  10. SteveBalmer
    FAIL

    People like to OWN things.

    tangible things...

    Seems some idiots can't fathom this....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well...

      I don't care if it's tangible or not, but I do want to own it and I don't want to pay the same for a lower-quality product.

  11. Ru
    Facepalm

    I don't like low quality, DRM-filled inconvenient digital formats.

    CDs are universally supported and trivially redistributable. I can rip them into any format I see fit, and then store them safely as an archive copy for a fair few years.

    I buy lossless audio files whenever they're available, but that's all too infrequently. There are more places offering WAV, FLAC and the slightly more inconvenient ALAC formats than there used to be, but legal lossless downloads are a tiny proportion of online media. When the industry start catering to me, I'll gladly give up on the plastic discs. Hell, I'm happy to pay a *premium*, but they won't sell things that they can trivially create and already have the infrastructure to distribute!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange

    Every year the story's the same – but every year it is stranger to report. Register reporters continue to misunderstand people's preference for CDs over downloads, and trot out the same story year after year.

    If I buy a downloaded album, I'm generally limited to 320 bitrate mp3, I have to make sure I have multiple copies (to avoid the random failures of digital storage media), and I can't just shove the CD in my car stereo without first burning it to a CD.

    Like earlier commenters, I'd rather own something physical - not only can I rip it to whatever format I prefer, but I have something tangible - it's reassuring to know that if my ripped copies get corrupted somehow, I can just re-rip. Or I can put the disk in my home stereo and listen to it how it was intended, without any missing frequencies; or I can chuck it in my car stereo.

    People continue to buy vinyl records too (and their popularity is rising). Is this strange too? No - people like tangible things, and they like the sound quality.

    And whilst the writer laments people clinging on to an apparently old fashioned medium, he fails to recognise that many people don't shop on the high street any more. Heard of play.com or amazon?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The only people

    who are surprised by the continued sale of CDs are IT hacks who clearly know very little about the music industry or the music consumer.

  14. Zot

    16 bit uncompressed, and good D to A hardware to read them.

    But people don't care about sound quality any more. Perhaps it's all those cars out there with CD players in them that keep the sales going.

    The concept of a disc to play music is certainly the easiest thing to understand, and not everybody has the ability with all that fiddling about with 'puters and such! : )

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "barmy"

    not really.

  16. Mike Brown

    buying cds

    Met a mate up the town the other day, went for a pint and discovered he was at the shops to buy a CD. For £15!! I was astounded and asked him if he realised it was 2011.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Cars

      Buy CD's, rip at high quaity, save as Mp3, bung in Car player -- 7 hours - 1 disc.

      Always check quality of sound system in car - usually needs better speakers.

      DubStep ruins 'normal' car speakers.

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Mushroom

        "DubStep ruins 'normal' car speakers."

        Dubstep ruins everything.

        1. J-Wick
          Linux

          Get orf my lawn, grandad....

          Some dubstep is shite, some is great. A small fraction is amazing.

          Like with everything. For example, whatever you listen to. Which I may also like as well!

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Well said

            I've never liked 'music snobs'. If someone likes listening to it then it's good music.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        DubStep ruins 'normal' car speakers.

        Nope not the speakers, it's the shit you play through them...

  17. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    On-Demand UFP (Unique Failure Point)

    It might be true that On-Demand listening might be cheaper prodived that:-

    1) You are 'connected'

    2) You are 'connected' in your home country

    listening to On-demand music while abroad on holiday can be frighteningly expensive. Data Roaming charges are just silly.

    Sorry this fails miserably.

    CD's only for me I'm afraid. I can listen anywhere, anyhow, anytime. (with due reference to The Who's lyrics.) I want to.

    Yeah I know this is not what the Music Industry Mafia wants but frankly most of the music they promote these days can hardly be called music in the first place.

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Pint

      re: On-Demand UFP

      Steve Davies 3 sez on 06.28.11 @10:40gmt:

      "CD's only for me I'm afraid. I can listen anywhere, anyhow, anytime. (with due reference to The Who's lyrics.) I want to."

      Like, even when you're Goin' Mobile?

      Pint of ale, for a fellow old Who Yoof.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Megaphone

    I like shiny things....

    But really, CDs are real, just like my old LP collection.

    MP3s are only good for listening to on the commute.

  19. Paul Hayes 1

    never mind CDs

    I still like to buy records, never mind just CDs.

    I much prefer browsing shelves in my house full of CDs and records to decide what to listen to than looking at a screen with a folder of file names in it on a computer.

    Other reasons I still buy CDs are:

    - album art

    - the feeling of actually getting "something" tangible rather than just a load of 0s and 1s on my computer hard drive

    - better quality than most download music at the moment

    But as for buying on the high street, I very rarely do this any more. I buy the vast majority of my music online, it's just I order CDs and/or records online, not mp3 downloads.

    It will be a very sad day for me if buying music on physical media stops. Hopefully there are enough other people in the world who agree to mean this will never really happen.

  20. Tim Hale 1
    Stop

    CDs Fail

    I agree that being able to rip a CD losslessly is good but would like to point out three things:

    1. AFAIK format shifting is still illegal in the UK.

    2. CDs are not DRM free, it's just that the DRM used is so trivial by todays standards as to be irrelevant.

    3. I have had a couple of CDs fail on me, the silver layer has disintegrated, so not quite the bulletproof backup. May have been a disc quality or storage problem but either way, the disc was unreadable.

    My solution has been to rip the discs to 320Kbps MP3 for use now and have ISO backups of the discs, scanning the cover and inlay all into a recoverable RAR file. If I want to change to another format down the line all the discs are there ready to go.

  21. Zog The Undeniable
    Facepalm

    CDs are so superior to downloads, there's no contest

    Uncompressed, no DRM, harder to lose in a HDD crash or PC upgrade, cover art, no chance of a dodgy rip (the prize for this being some mp3s on Amazon that were so badly ripped from VINYL that you could hear the end of the previous track, as well as all the crackles).

    Plus CDs are dirt cheap on fleaBay if you don't even want to pay one of the Jersey-located warehouses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Tim Hale

      1. Yes, but no one has every been prosecuted and is soon to become legal.

      2. Wrong RED Book CD's ARE DRM free. Anything that has DRM is not allowed to carry the Compact Disk logo. I know I got Philips to shove a rocket up Sony's ass for doing so.

      3. Yes can be true, however I have the Origianl Brother in Arms Cd from when it was first released, along with several others and they play fine. However they are heavier and seem to have a different cosating to modern ones. That said compare a 60's vinyl to a modern one and look at the difference.

      But yup I ripped all my Cd's (several hundred) and shoved them in the loft. No other reason than lack of space.

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      DRM on CD, and disc rot.

      1. I believe you're correct. Using an iPod to play your own music collection remains illegal in many jurisdictions, but this is really only a technicality - as long as you retain the original media that you paid for, you'll be okay. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but was at Apple when the iPod was launched, and there was a lot of talk about this issue.

      2. The "Red Book" specification for CD digital audio does not provide for rights management features. Audio burners later provided a "Serial Copy Inhibit" feature, but it was up to the player and writer to both implement this; many did not, and in any case, there was nothing to stop you making multiple second-copies from a single master.

      Non-compliant discs, using CopySafe or other crap cannot be called "Compact Discs", and don't have the (oh so retro 1970s) "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo on them. Following some court action by Philips, they also had to have a disclaimer to say that they weren't compliant, and may not play, and may damage playback equipment.

      These discs were famous for not playing properly on many in-car players, or high-end hi-fi players. This led to the stupid situation where it was actually NECESSARY to make copies of the "copy-protected" disc using a PC -- which had no problem reading the "protected" data-- in order to use the media as intended. Tch.

      3. Disc rot was a known issue in the 1990s; a particular type of lacquer used in one manufacterer allowed sulphur used in the bleach on the inlay card to attack the aluminum disc surface. Philips DuPont Optical, the company that produced many of the discs, offered a replacement programme for many years, but I don't think it is active anymore. I had six or seven discs replaced. Web search for "MADE IN UK BY PDO" or "CD Bronzing" or "CD Rot" for more details.

      Personally, I buy all of my music online, from Play.com as physical CD. I then rip this to losslessly-compressed files (Apple Lossless, by historical accident, but there's an open-source player). The discs are kept in case my NAS dies, although putting them all back would be a major job :)

      Actually, there's one exception - I bought the last Radiohead album (King of Limbs) as a download, but this was ONLY because they offered it as a set of full bitrate WAV files, complete with album art. I'd do so again for lossless (or higher-bitrate than CD, although the available catalogue is pretty insipid right now), but I'll never pay for MP3.

    3. Mike Flugennock

      CDs fail...

      re: 2. My copy of Ziggy Stardust was issued when RCA thought that music CDs with a glitzy video/multimedia component was surely The Next Big Thing. The result was that iTunes, on my G4 iBook, refused to rip it. I got around it by firing up my old G3 with an old version of Toast Audio Extractor, and -- waddya know, it recognized the audio tracks and ignored all the other bullshit, and let me do a normal high-rate rip to .wav format.

      re: 3. So far, none of my commercially-produced CDs has failed on me. Other items I have ripped to CD-R, such as bootleg concert footage or rips from out-of-print vinyl, have experienced a total of two failures in ten years, both traceable to media which shipped defective (look out for TDK). In each of these cases, it wasn't a total disaster as I still had copies on my "tune server" hard drive as well as backups to DVD ROMs. I've also backed up my rips from commercially-produced CDs to archival media as well, just to keep all my bets covered.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I Buy CD

    I buy cd's for two reasons. First, I don't want someone else controlling what I already bought. If I buy anything else in the world I can do what I want with it. Why shouldn't I be able to do that with my music too, (except for the greed of the music industry who probably paid their way to get it legislated the way it is). Second, I grew up in the age of records and can remember the improvement in sound quality when I heard my first CD, and I still own that CD. Besides the fact that many of the CD quality music downloads are not truly CD quality, all you have to do is hit the wrong button and the song is gone. Or have a couple of hard drives die like I have and do it for you. You could of course store the songs on cd or dvd but isn't that proving what I am saying here in the first place. Besides this, others have let me hear some of the music they have paid for. It sounds like someone singing in a bucket of water and they are loving it even though the quality stinks. We should be moving up in quality with all of our technology, not backwards. Some people are just tone deaf I guess. It might be different if the music was all lossless quality and no controls put in like the Beatles on USB in Flac format, (no, I don't own it, would rather have the CDs.

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      re: why I buy CD

      I, too, had a hard drive containing my entire music collection die on me five or six years ago. It was a minor pain in the ass having to order a new drive, reload it, and re-match all the tracks to the playlists, but it was a far smaller pain in the ass than it would've been to have to actually try to replace all the music (which, fortunately, I had the sense to back up to audio CDs and DVD ROMs).

      Right on about the Beatles reissue in FLAC on a USB drive. It's cool in a way, but, still, there's something even cooler about having the actual discs with the actual album art. Hell, half the fun of listening to Sergeant Pepper is copping a couple of bong hits and staring at the front cover.

  23. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Cost delta is typically negligible, nil or negative

    CDs are often about the same price as the digital download. But I consider them to be slightly less risky in the long run.

    Another way to look at it is that the music ends up on the flash media anyway, but it's already backed-up on a CD.

  24. Scott Mckenzie

    Surprised they're surprised.

    Until i can get the same quality in a download i won't be changing.... at present none of the mass market sources offer high quality options.

    A few places buck the trend, Naim, manufacturers of rather high end HiFi now offer 24Bit digital downloads and these are an obvious step UP in quality from CD, sadly it's only for their own label stuff (which won't appeal to everyone) but it's the right direction to head and as soon as we get there i'll wave bye bye to my discs.

    1. Joel 1
      Facepalm

      negative indeed

      I'm finding that prices for the CD (including delivery) are often much cheaper than the mp3 download. Amazon at least try to ensure that their price for the physical product is matched by the download, but the Marketplace sellers will often beat both. Compare it to iTunes prices, and the physical price is much cheaper.

      The situation is worse when you look at box set TV series - House season 2 - £10.67 from Amazon for plastic disks, £22 from iTunes for downloading it. On Seesaw, it was around £13 just to rent it...

      For downloads, the content providers try to maintain the retail price - the physical product gets discounted to shift surplus copies. The content providers need to accept the actual value of their product. Of course, if they ever manage to move completely to digital products, they might hope to wipe out the second hand market which affects their ability to keep their prices racked up.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      24Bit

      Were these previously available on DVD-Audio?

      Now DVD-Audio and SACD were excellent formats, the way the HiFi companies wanted us to go - instead we now get compressed dynamic range CDs and bubbly sounding MP3.

      last 5 music purchases are 1 CD, 1 LP, 2 DVD-A, and 1 SACD.

      I have never paid to download - rather have the shiney disc

  25. Paul Hayes 1

    another reason

    as I've just found out from trying to update my ipad which has caused a loss of all apps on it....

    If the ipad/ipod/hard drive containing downloaded music fails, you've had it. Bye bye music. Short of my house being burgled, it's highly unlikely that I'm going to suddenly lose all my music at once (and they're insured anyway...).

    I know you can backup and I do have at least 3 copies of everything on my file server at home but I know from experience of working in IT that most people don't even consider backups as necessary until it's too late.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    The only CDs I buy..

    Are those that you can't get any other way (iTunes doesn't carry many of the prog bands I listen to..). And also to support specialist distributors (plug for progrock.co.uk). And as for DRM - well - it's only present as long as it takes me to fire up the anti-DRM tools (same with ebooks - I don't distribute them but I do want to read them on devices that don't support the DRM flavour that the supplier uses. So the DRM goes.. and that includes Amazon Kindle books). And most of the places I buy music don't do DRM (iTunes being one of them - they tag the music as being bought by you but that's a different kettle of fish).

    AC for obvous reasons - I'm not distributing any of my downloads but paranoia does kick in.

  27. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Pint

    They are selling me a license?

    I don't buy a "license".

    Sell me that CD (and sub-10 EUR is becoming the target price here) or let me download for free.

    Anything else, shove it.

  28. jake Silver badge

    Most of the music I listen to ...

    ... was recorded from vinyl to half inch tape, and the working copies made from the tape.

    But then I know that music sounds like music through speakers, not those abomination "ear buds" ... I dread what Marketing is going to foist on kids next ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes

      but you're a pointless anachronism

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 13:50

        Agreed. But I'm a pointless anachronism with a hint of taste.

        Listen to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side" on CD[1]. Then listen to it on clean vinyl ... Both auditions over decent amplification, and quality speakers. I guarantee that you'll prefer the vinyl over the CD ... and that the tape recording of the vinyl will also sound better than the CD.

        After listening to the above, you'll shudder at what your iFad sends your ears ...

        [1] Pick a rock in the ebb & flow of popular music ...

        1. Some Beggar
          WTF?

          "I guarantee that you'll prefer"

          Really? You know the listening preferences of complete strangers on the internet?

          That's some mighty impressive omniscience you're displaying there, Jehovah.

          Wait ... I don't mean "impressive omniscience" do I? I mean "ridiculous pretension and hubris".

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Some Beggar

            Nice ad hominem.

            Did it make you feel better about your appalling taste in audio playback?

            No? Oh. I'm sorry.

            ::sighs:: Kids these days ...

            1. Some Beggar
              FAIL

              @jake

              Nice misunderstanding of the term "ad hominem".

              The only ad hominem in this thread so far is your "Kids these days" snipe.

              You're a dick.

              (that's not an ad hominem either ... it's just abuse ... because you're a dick)

              1. jake Silver badge

                Again ...

                Did it make you feel better about your appalling taste in audio playback?

                No? Oh. I'm sorry.

                ::sighs:: Kids these days ...

                1. Some Beggar
                  FAIL

                  @dick^H^H^H jake

                  1) I haven't mentioned what music I listen to or what format I use.

                  2) I'm probably older than you

                  3) I've been working in signal processing (audio and RF) for twenty five years.

                  The comment about "guaranteeing" that people would prefer something just because you happen to prefer it was deeply silly. I'm sorry if my pointing this out has troubled you enough to resort to silly snipes about age and taste. Feel free to repeat them as many times as you like if it makes you feel better. No amount of repetition will make you look any less silly.

                  You silly dick.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    @Some Beggar

                    And now argumentum ad verecundiam on top of ad hominem?

                    Has it made you feel any better about your appalling taste in audio playback yet?

                    No? Oh. I'm sorry.

                    ::sighs:: Kids these days ...

                    1. Some Beggar
                      FAIL

                      @jake

                      That isn't an argument from authority. My previous post contained no ad hominem.

                      Your original statement is still silly.

                      You're still a dick.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        ::hmm::

                        "1) I haven't mentioned what music I listen to or what format I use."

                        Not applicable. We're talking audio reproduction for listeners.

                        "2) I'm probably older than you"

                        Not argument from authority? Are you certain?

                        "3) I've been working in signal processing (audio and RF) for twenty five years."

                        Yep. Argument from authority ...

                        "The comment about "guaranteeing" that people would prefer something just because you happen to prefer it was deeply silly. I'm sorry if my pointing this out has troubled you enough to resort to silly snipes about age and taste. Feel free to repeat them as many times as you like if it makes you feel better. No amount of repetition will make you look any less silly."

                        I offered the option for the reader to make their own decision on audio quality; nowhere do I tell anyone what to do.

                        "You silly dick."

                        Again with the ad hominem.

                        Has it made you feel any better about your appalling taste in audio playback yet?

                        No? Oh. I'm sorry.

                        ::sighs:: Kids these days ...

                        1. Some Beggar
                          FAIL

                          Adolescent troll is adolescent.

                          "Not applicable. We're talking audio reproduction for listeners."

                          WTFAYBOA? Your original and tediously repeated snipe was "your appalling taste in audio playback". Since I haven't said anything about my choice of audio playback, your snipe makes no sense. Which part of this ridiculously simple point are you having trouble with?

                          The two points about my age and experience were a response to your ad hominem "kids these days". That isn't an argument from authority.

                          And abuse is not the same as an ad hominem argument. I've already pointed that out once.

                          Your original point was fatuous. You were wrong on the internet. You don't have the dignity to admit you were wrong on the internet. That makes you a dick. You dick.

                          1. jake Silver badge

                            @Some Beggar

                            Go back and re-read the thread. Do you not agree that you, personally, guarantee that people will prefer good quality analog audio to compressed (by definition) digital audio?

                            "Audio reproduction for listeners" and "audio playback" are technical terms ... they mean "replaying stored sounds for human[1] ears". Surely with your 25 years of experience you would know that?

                            I've noticed you in other threads here on ElReg. I think I've just *plinked* you[2].

                            [1] Or other thingie capable of interpreting vibrations in the human audio range.

                            [2] Some folks just don't deserve a proper *plonk* ...

                            1. Some Beggar

                              @jake

                              "Do you not agree that you, personally, guarantee that people will prefer good quality analog audio to compressed (by definition) digital audio?"

                              No. I mean I'd love to try ... but first you're going to have to rearrange the words until they make sense.

                              If you're trying to backtrack and pretend that your original statement was either uncontroversial or not silly then you're wasting your time. It was fucking silly.

        2. Mike Flugennock

          "Dark Side" vinyl vs. CD

          jake sez on 06.29.11 @ 08:28gmt:

          "Listen to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side" on CD[1]. Then listen to it on clean vinyl ..."

          Greetings, fellow pointless anachronism with a hint of taste.

          ...y'know, it's funny... back in the mid/late '90s, when I'd just gotten my first CD drive (as part of my now-aged G3 Mac), I was debating whether or not to replace my old LPs with new CDs, or to find the LPs which were in better shape and try to rip them myself (a certain subset of my LP collection, the ones I bought between the time I graduated college and around 1984, are in pretty good shape; the ones I bought between 1971 and '79 are wrecked). At the time, the CD rush was in full swing, and turntables were harder and harder to find. Even the supposedly high-end tables contained an alarming amount of plastic components; I was looking at spending several hundred dollars for a proper turntable with components made of proper materials, like a serious DJ turntable. If anyone at the time told me how bad their LPs sounded compared to CDs, I'd remind them that it was because they were playing their LPs on crappy-assed 80s/90s turntables made almost entirely of plastic.

          Interesting, now that LPs are coming back; I heard recently that the 30th (or 35th) anniversary remaster/reissue of "Dark Side" was not only released on CD, but also on virgin vinyl of a weight and thickness not seen since the late '60s. If my money weren't so tight these days, I'd be seriously on the hunt for that "Dark Side" vinyl reissue so I could take it over to my DJ buddy's house and use his turntable and quad-core Mac Pro to rip it properly.

          The problem with CD reissues in the early days, though, was that digital remastering brought out imperfections in the original analog master tapes which normally couldn't be heard in the final product. I'll never forget, twenty-five years or so ago, when CDs started getting really big-time, and the radio stations started going to CDs on the air. They used to announce when they were playing the CD reissue of an album back then; during one set, a local station played some of the CD reissue of the first Who album, and as the final chorus of "I Can't Explain" faded out, the DJ came on and wisecracked, "and, there's The Who with 'I Can't Explain' -- sounding even trashier on CD!"

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Mike Flugennock

            My Garrard-based granite deck with Shure V-15 Type V cartridges[1], combined with Tascam tape kit, make for a fairly decent home archive system when it comes to vinyl ... Digitizing it after archiving is trivial.

            The only problem is finding clean vinyl :-/

            [1] I scored four dozen unused Type Vs from WierdStuffWarehouse in 1997 for US$25 :-)

    2. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      vinyl to tape dubs: "Most of the music I listen to..."

      jake sez on 06.28.11 @12:40gmt:

      "... was recorded from vinyl to half inch tape, and the working copies made from the tape."

      The author of "Retro Thing", one of my favorite blogs, had an interesting post a while back about taking CDs of old albums remastered from the original analog tapes and dubbing them to analog tape on a high-end open-reel deck, like an old refurbish Teac or Akai. Apparently, the results were quite good: a "smoothing out" of the high end, and a "fattening" and "warming" of the midrange and bass.

      He doesn't say anything about the results for dubbing CDs of albums which were also mastered digitally, such as Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms" which, iirc, was the first album which was recorded, mixed, and mastered digitally.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Mike Flugennock

        "like an old refurbish Teac or Akai."

        Yup. My kit is centered on Tascam ... No refurbs needed, I bought it all new.

        "Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms""

        ::heh:: ... Memories. I own & play a Dobro, similar to the Resonator on the cover :-)

        Yes, that's the first album recorded, mixed & mastered digitally. And it sounds like it.

        Not that that's a bad thing ;-)

  29. Annihilator
    Coat

    "Daddy, what's a CD?..."

    "Why darling they're the round plastic coasters that used to contain AOL's software..."

  30. Tezfair

    While there's DRM...

    CD's for me too. I have fair amount of paid for music, albums and singles which im no longer able to play because the license backup doesn't export to another PC and the account which I purchased under has long since expired.

    Equally I would never have itunes

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Abso-frickin'-lutely, pal

      I have iTunes running on the G4 iBook I use as my "tune server" when I'm not on the road, and I have iTunes configured strictly for use as a music player. First thing I did when I installed it was to shut off all the advertising, and use Little Snitch to lock it down tight, and keep it from calling home to Apple. The only 'Net connection I allow out of iTunes is to the live stream of a freeform FM station in NY which plays a lot of old obscure art music and old prog and '60 garage rock that I really like. I sure as hell don't use iTunes to _buy_ music.

  31. ChrisC
    FAIL

    "considering how difficult it is to find..."

    Well, I suppose if you only ever do your shopping on the High Street, and if you ignore the "alternative" sources of CDs (charity shops, second-hand stores - e.g. CEX - etc) that seem to be in abundance in even the smallest and sleepiest of town centres, then you might possibly just begin to have the merest smidgin of something that may, given sufficient time to germinate, grow into a vague approximation of a point. Just not a particularly sharp one.

    On the other hand, a quick trip down to the nearest big shed of a supermarket to peruse their CD selection as part of the weekly shop could easily suffice the CD purchasing needs of many people, and at prices that aren't entirely unpalatable.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Not only, but also

      A few clicks and taps will also get you to ooooodles of CDs courtesy of Play and Amazon.

  32. Anonymous Coward 99

    Support Live Music!

    Physical CDs are a lifeline to new artists - the "merch stand" where you can buy a CD after the show often makes them more money than the actual fee, and gets permanent publicity out into peoples' hands, where hopefully they will play or lend it to their friends....

  33. No, I will not fix your computer

    Meh....

    No amount of lossless data transfer is going to make Justin Bieber sound good, and my mono recording of Pet Sounds will always sound brilliant, no matter how many pops and crackles.

  34. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    damn' straight, man...

    Call me old-fashioned if you want -- hell, when I first started buying music, it was still on _vinyl_ -- but the more I see the direction the Entertainment-Industrial Complex is moving in, the more sense it makes to me to keep it "old skool". The more crass and greedy the behavior of the EIC becomes, the more I like having actual physical copies of my music on CDs and LPs, the same way I still prefer my books printed, on actual paper, which I can share and trade among my friends or sell to a used-book shop without Amazon getting in my face about it.

    All the music in my collection -- living on a dedicated hard disk, accessible to iTunes for playlists and the like -- is backed up to remote physical media, either audio CDs or DVD ROMs, for easy backup in case of hard disk failure. Add to this the advantage of the likes of Apple or Amazon being unable to reach across the 'Net and delete the music I have backed up to offline physical media, and you can see why many of us still choose to keep it Old Skool (not to mention that the EIC still hasn't figured out to encode DRM on vinyl LPs).

    My copies of Dark Side Of The Moon -- both on CD, and on vinyl (half-speed-remastered reissue) -- are paid for and owned by me, legally, and I'm free to listen to them, use them in mix discs, or mash up for my own personal pleasure as I see fit, no corporate bullshitting around about "licensing".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: books

      Likewise, but unless you're buying hardcover, you're being screwed. They aren't stitched anymore, or they use less than a page's thickness of adhesive. I have some books (20years old) that are in excellent condition, and I have some that are six months old that have already fallen apart. Admittedly, they aren't as bad as that Stephen King disappearing ink book, but they're still almost shit.

      On the other hand, I have one book (or at least its pages) that absorbed a pint of motor oil in the trunk of my car...it's just very hard to read as the paper is now almost transparent.

  35. Paul RND*1000

    Declining quality of everything

    MP3s and the hardware they play on are just more examples of the ongoing race to the bottom we're trapped in as we trade quality for "convenience". Yeah, they're fine for listening in the car or the office or out on a walking trail where sound quality is secondary to being able to take a large amount of music with you easily. At home I'll take quality, because I'm in a position to do so. For now that means music on CD played through a low-budget separates system (by no means "audiophile-quality", but a lot closer to that ideal than it is to what most people listen to).

    Most consumers, sadly, do not seem to know better or care that their lossy-compressed download played through a cheap DAC into a crappy pair of earbuds barely resembles the music as it was supposed to be heard. God help us all, they're the ones driving the market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Earbuds?

      Played distortingly loud on tiny mobile phone speakers more and more in my experience

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Mobile speakers

        I really hate this, I will not let my daughter do this, she has to use the ear buds.

        I'm sticking with MD and Sennheiser PX100s for portable.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      re: declining quality of everything

      Right on to that.

      About the time the first series of iPhones came out, I recall a lot of the marketing hype involved the fact that you could watch movies on it. Far from being overjoyed, I was, in fact, appalled as I imagined some young geek someplace watching Kubrick's "2001" on his crappy little iPhone screen.

      Also about that time -- and I wish I'd bookmarked the YouTube URL now -- David Lynch had some video posted of a talk he gave at some media conference, a really right-on rant about what a sad development it was that so many people would actually "...want to watch a movie on your fucking phone!"

      I mean, sure; some crappy little romantic comedy would work OK on an iPhone, but "2001"? "Lawrence Of Arabia"? "Blade Runner"? Gimme a break, man.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Just a thought

      I agree with your sentiment but convenience doesn't have to be at the expense of quality.

      Rip your CDs in a lossless format then use a media streamer. I recommend the Logitech Touch. It supposedly has a pretty good DAC. If you don't like the Touch DAC it has optical digital out so you can pipe the stream into whatever DAC you prefer.

      I have access to all 400+ of my albums from the comfort of my armchair just by pressing a few buttons on my remote and in theory the sound is at least as good as it would be from a CD. Maybe better since the ripping process should eliminate any jitter.

      Oh and for the record the rest of my kit is an Onkyo 507 and Q Acoustics speakers. Not high-end gear but enough to dissuade me from playing back most lossy digital formats :)

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Even in cars MP3 sucks

      I MP3d a few CDs and shoved onto a CD-R

      128 sounds bad

      higher compression sounds a bit bubbly.

      All other CDs in the changer are red book either by purchase or repairing

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Never right off a format forever

    Down in our HMV in Vancouver, they have a whole row of new Vinyl records from indie labels.

    Vinyl is making a comeback for the same reasons mentioned above. It is physical, you own it so it has value and it feels nice.

  37. montyburns56

    What's DRM?

    Do all of those who keep commenting about how they prefer CDs because it doesn't have DRM still think it's 2005 and not 2011? None of the legal download stores that I have been using for years (Amazon, Play and others) have DRM in their music downloads.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Need to include the content being bought

    It might be interesting to see how the sales are distributed across different kinds of music.

    I would expect that there is very little new "pop" / "top 40" music that is being bought on CD.

    I buy CD's for the quality and I like that I don't need to backup all the music files again. I know a couple people with large music collections who digitize everything from CDs that they buy; rip the CD, put the disk and the album cover into storage. They don't take up much space if you remove the plastic box.

  39. sabroni Silver badge
    Happy

    nice things

    I buy all my asian pop on cd. The korean stuff in particular is always beautifully packaged. The Narsha mini album, for example, is the size of a seven inch single and folds out to a cross shape. It contains the cd, a booklet of pictures of Narsha in various ridiculous outfits and a lyrics sheet (gold on black!).

    I'm quite happy to pay a bit more for a physical copy if it comes as a nice thing!

    Got the last The National album on 12inch purple vinyl. Lovely!

  40. Petrea Mitchell
    Happy

    Heck, vinyl still works for some people

    Hearing that Weird Al has released another album, I wandered over to his online store, and discovered the following options: CD, CD+MP3 download, and vinyl. So apparently it's still an economically viable format for some...

  41. Bill Coleman
    Mushroom

    OMG you guys are all idiots

    To the people who talk about CD V's download quality:

    If you can tell the difference between a WAV file sampled at CD bitrate and a full quality AAC downloaded from itunes you are lying. you may have a shit mp3 player, or crap headphones, or whatever, but the difference is not perceptible once it's run through a proper DAC and played on a proper amp through good speakers. IN FACT - CD sample rates are behind the times - sound quality on DVD recordings are better, and downloads will v soon overtake CD in terms of data density.

    To everyone whining about DRM:

    It's 2011. DRM is gone from serious download services like itunes. I'm more worried about the likes of sony putting root kit on their CDs. Remember that one anyone?

    To people worried about backups:

    I still have encoded tracks from CDs I have lost or scratched years ago. In fact, I've recovered music from scratched discs that were otherwise unplayable using bit correction tech. there are a million cloud services out there that specialise in music backup that give you access on the fly to your collection for pennies. Backup your shit properly and stop whining.

    And price?

    Are you kidding me?! Legal downloads are half the price of high street discs and online CD retailers... second hand and black markets excepted. but really, you'd deprive your fav artist of their $% by being a cheap wad?

    such a bunch of Luddites I have never seen on a tech forum!

    /rant

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      And you're a bit ignorant

      >If you can tell the difference between a WAV file sampled at CD bitrate and a full quality AAC downloaded from itunes you are lying

      I haven't seen anyone mention WAV. I think those of us complaining about quality are well aware that WAV is a lossless format. It is in fact the same basic stream as is stored on the CD itself - just with different headers. The only complaint we'd have about WAV is the file size because (quelle surprise) it works out the same as the CD - ie;80 minutes of WAV music is about 630MB.

      No, young padawan, what we're complaining about are the lossy audio formats. The ones where the encoding process drops some of the information obtained during the sampling. That's MP3, most variants of WMA.

      Technically you can generate a WAV file by just reading the 1s and 0s off the CD and repackaging them. Reverse the process and you have cloned the CD. It should be digitally indistinguishable from the original. That is not true of MP3 nor any other lossy format.

      There is nothing technically wrong with ripping a CD (or even a DVD) to a lossless audio format. It's just more sensible to use one that compresses the resulting stream to avoid wasting storage space.

      What we're complaining about is that the most common retail forms of electronic distribution are innaccurate. If we could download in a lossless format we'd be jumping for joy. Some of us might even pack up our CDs and send them off to a recycling centre. I don't much care about the physical side and it's a pain having to store the bloody things.

      1. Some Beggar
        FAIL

        @AndrueC

        Re-read the previous post. It is talking about the difference between lossless WAV and lossy high-bitrate AAC.

        I'll give you a tenner for every single person you can name who can identify the lossy version in a blind test. In fact, make it a hundred quid. I've never seen any evidence of anybody being able to do it. Ever.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      We are not

      I bet that I could tell the difference with Rock music.

      Anyway the high def formats were even better.

      DVD-A has the low noise floor of CD and the lack of high frequency noises of vinyl.

      Change to MP3 and it is a horrible quality drop.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    CDs still rule

    Because online downloads are region-locked (i.e. they block you if your IP address does not satisfy their neurotic want that your IP address be from the same country the store is in, while most online stores (likely the same one who region-locks their music downloads) have no qualms of shipping a CD to anywhere in the world.

  43. Rattus Rattus

    I will never buy a digital track

    so long as it comes with DRM. I'll buy CDs because they're DRM-free. I'd start buying tracks for download if I could find any that:

    A) Weren't in a shitty format (so no iTunes)

    and

    B) Weren't encumbered with DRM (so nobody else either, yet)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    CD's vs whatevers next

    I would count on being able to play CDs in the distant future. Theres still life in the 44.1khz/16bit plastic disk yet...

    I currently have 4 CD drives in the house and 1 in the car.

    I have 2, yes 2 cassette tape players and 3, yes count 'em! 3 record players.

    I occasionaly rip stuff from youtube for my phone and that it is all. Fuck itunes.. mp3 quality is sh!t from these sites so rather make my own, cause I can.

    Analogue all the way baby! yeah!! Mines the one with 2x Stanton DJ carts in the pocket.

  45. Zog The Undeniable
    FAIL

    Gapless playback

    've just remembered another reason why downloads suck: try downloading an album where the tracks run into one another, and you normally discover that the tracks aren't gapless even when played on a compliant player. My home rips from CD will play gaplessly in Winamp although the CD in the car still can't cope.

    Any Doors fans who like the way "Peace Frog" segues into "Blue Sunday" will know what I'm talking about. A careless commercial rip that leaves a gap or even a stutter ruins the whole piece. I can see where Pink Floyd were coming from when they opposed downloads for so long.

    Oh, and once you've paid for a gappy download, try getting a refund. No chance.

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Holmes

      re: Gapless playback

      Zog The Undeniable sez on 06.29.11 @08:54gmt:

      "Any Doors fans who like the way "Peace Frog" segues into "Blue Sunday" will know what I'm talking about. A careless commercial rip that leaves a gap or even a stutter ruins the whole piece. I can see where Pink Floyd were coming from when they opposed downloads for so long..."

      Damn' straight. And, need we mention the great-granddaddy of 'em all, Abbey Road, Side Two*? My CD copy is "tracked", yet still plays the famous Side Two flawlessly on a CD player, though iTunes can't deal with it even when supposedly set to "gapless" playback. I ended up having to rip my copy of "Abbey Road" to .wav format so I could stitch Side Two together in Final Cut Pro so I could enjoy "Here Comes The Sun" through to "Her Majesty" in all its flowing, uninterrupted glory.

      Same for any Pink Floyd album from "Dark Side Of The Moon" and later, and side one of Frank Zappa's "Apostrophe".

      .

      *for you youngsters, that's side two of the original LP version, where all the songs run together in a continuous "suite" of twenty-odd minutes or so.

  46. saundby

    CDs make better gifts

    A CD is a gift that shows some care for the recipient's taste in music.

    An iTunes card or the like is just another gift certificate. Money thrown into a particular till that you'll have to throw more into to get the full value already spent. Even cash is a better gift.

    A CD is a gift that I know I really appreciate getting. I've received several this last year, in fact many more than for several years--perhaps CD is making a comeback along with vinyl?

    This 3 year old data wouldn't show it.

  47. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Linn Sondek LP12?

    It was a piece of incredible kit. As my friend once said "It plays tunes".

    It did, with an 'Ittok' arm. Surprisingly, the cartridge didn't matter that much. Good amp, set of Quad electrostatics, you were set. REAL HiFi. (IT angle - it's nearly WiFi...)

    That was then..

    This is now.

    Folks, get used to never hearing real - I mean seriously real - quality sound at home ever again.

    It's the equivalent of previously going to Turkey for real food, and nowadays accepting a kebab.

    Downvotes now accepted.

    1. Some Beggar

      Pink Floyd were shit on analogue formats and they're shit in digital formats.

      Downvotes now welcomed.

      1. J-Wick
        Thumb Up

        Brilliant...

        Leaving aside whether it's true, I laughed.

      2. Mike Flugennock
        Mushroom

        re: Pink Floyd were shit...

        Some Beggar sez on 06.29.11 @11:29gmt:

        "Pink Floyd were shit on analogue formats and they're shit in digital formats."

        Pink Floyd were a band who could actually write real songs with actual lyrics, actually play, and actually sing.

        There, fixed it for you.

  48. mittfh

    CDs? Vinyl? Magnetic tape!

    I have several dozen albums on a format older than a CD, and more portable than a vinyl record... the humble audio cassette!

    Now that's one case in which you might as well go for a lossy format, as unless you've still got a Hi-Fi quality tape deck, you're unfortunately going to end up with a background accompaniment of white noise (aka "hiss"), and while there are algorithms to reduce it (to make listening more tolerable), they'll probably slightly affect the remaining audio as well.

    1. Jason Ozolins
      Devil

      MP3 is the new cassette

      Indeed. Lossy audio formats is to CDs what cassette was to vinyl:

      - more portable

      - "good enough" for listening to on the bus, in your car, while talking to friends

      - and a total fecking waste of money to actually buy music *on that medium*

      If you were serious, you bought or borrowed the record to make your own tape.

      If you didn't care much, you could rip off somebody's cassette if you had a dubbing setup.

      But I knew nobody who though it made sense to buy pre-recorded cassettes.

      What has changed to make people buy so much stuff on iTunes? Well, the ongoing loudness wars in music production have raised a generation with tin ears who think that all music sounds like overcompressed shite, so what's not to like about 128kbit MP3? I'm going a bit deaf in my early 40s, but I can still hear lossy audio compression artifacts in low bit rate MP3s...

      I won't buy lossy audio if there is any lossless format available at a sensible price. I also won't buy newly remastered CDs where the new engineer got told to mangle the dynamics of the previous release, just to suit the "modern taste". The resurgence of interest in vinyl is probably because the engineers just can't mangle records in the same way that they can mangle CDs - vinyl can't reproduce the sorts of clipping that the CDs will happily blare out.

    2. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      re: the humble audio cassette

      mittfh sez on 06.29.11 @15:06gmt:

      "I have several dozen albums on a format older than a CD, and more portable than a vinyl record... the humble audio cassette!"

      I listen to almost all of my music on CDs and high-rate mp3's these days, but I still own a decent cassette deck in clean working order -- usually only used for ripping old tapes for archival purposes -- and a humble handheld stereo cassette player/recorder, to play the quick'n'dirty mix tapes I make from my CDs/mp3's to listen to when I'm working in the garden, or other environment which would be almost certain sudden death for CDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Go

        THE humble and sturdy audio cassette.

        My Dad had Spirits Having Flown by the Bee Gees (in case someone doesn't know) in an original cassette in his car since the 80's. 4 cars and 8 tape decks later it was still going. Not once it jammed, distorted or malfunctioned in any mean, shape or form.

        This tape was cooked in the sun in the glove compartment of sun-bathed parked cars for over 4 years straight, and was still going. It was left in the dash directly in the sun for another 5 years in another car. It worked fine until 2005 when it started to sound like Donald Duck.

        I found, to my utter disbelief, the same album in CD and bought the same to my Dad, which promptly recorded it in another tape. This time a chrome tape, but still... the mind boggles at its resilience.

        The 2000 Honda Civic having a tape deck as default, and no CD, is still even more mind boggling.

  49. Wile E. Veteran
    FAIL

    Vinyl rules!

    I'll admit it. I'm an old fogey who doesn't listen to the newest band cranking out the same "pop" (or is that "pap") on CD's, MPx, AAC or whatever. I still favor classical music and classic jazz and blues and these are still available on 33 1/3 RPM vinyl albums, albeit often in the dusty "used" section at record stores. Long live Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony, the Chicago and Philadelphia orchestras, small chamber groups, and E. Power Biggs, not to mention Coltrane, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Brubeck and Vince Guraldi, Yeah, I could get them all as "re-issues" on CD, but they just don't sound the same.

    I think I'll keep my Sony linear-tracking turntable in p-mount cartridges for as long as I can pick up New-Old Stock on eBay. And if I'm not in my living room, I'll listen to WRCJ (90.9 FM in Detroit or 'shudder' streamed over the Internet). I only buy CD's of Enya and Enigma because they aren't available on vinyl, no how, no way.

    Did I mention my tube (valve) stereo amplifier behind the turntable?

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