I’m not at all a part of the record industry but my interest in music and media is enough that I like to pay a little attention to what’s going on (which, for my particular interest, IndieHQ is great). Pretty much everyone that consumes music has heard the CD sales are down. Fine. Yet I don’t see how they can be considered down enough to suggest that the end of the format is near. Or maybe I don’t want to admit to it.
The post linked above mentions certain titles from back catalogs selling fewer and fewer copies to the point of them never selling out. Others from more popular bands sound like they are still selling. Nothing is mentioned on the comparative sales of the digital counterparts of these titles. Is it the CD format of them that never leaves the warehouse or is there no demand for the title in general? If a band that was never well known has since called it quits, it’s hard to see how any interest would carry over for their dated material, downloaded or otherwise. There’s a box of probably 300 CDs, two albums deep, sitting in my parents’ basement from my high school band that will probably never move. If we still played it’d be a whole different story.*
I’ve mentioned before that despite my enthusiasm for all things interwebs I’m not a digital music buyer. I’m hardly a music buyer in general anymore but when I do buy music I want the CD and the packaging that comes with them (though not so much the longboxes of yore). Part of that may be the designer in my. Part of that may be that I’ve had too many hard drives crash. Whatever the case, if I want it in 1s and 0s, I’d just assume take the two minutes to do that on my own.
I do like the fact that if CDs were to diminish to noting but collector items like vinyl seems to be today it would allow indie labels and bands to distribute their music on the same level as bigger acts at a friendlier budget. But if no CDs to sell, how are bands supposed to make gas money while on tour or give fans that instant gratification after a show or keep potential fans from forgetting about them by the time they launch iTunes? I’d rather buy music from a band than a t-shirt.
CDs and jewel boxes take up space. So do redundant hard drives.