The CD Is Dead! Long live the CD!


Dan Gross has an interesting column on Slate: The CD Is Dead! Long live the CD!

"What we are witnessing is not so much the imminent death of CDs but the death of the old methods of selling CDs. It’s still possible to make money in the CD business—any business with more than $7 billion in retail sales should allow someone, somewhere, to make a profit. The incumbents are getting killed, but upstarts are thriving, using different methods."  (emphasis added)

Yeah, TBP got a mention in it — our prior discussion of how Amazon’s music best sellers are under $10.

But my favorite line it in comes towards the end of the column:  "Is the CD dying as a commercial product? Sure. But it’s got a lot of dying left to do."


The CD Is Dead! Long live the CD!
Daniel Gross
Slate, Tuesday, March 27, 2007, at 4:01 PM ET

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. ideogenetic commented on Mar 28

    Have corrupted hard-drives become a thing of the past without me noticing?

  2. marcello commented on Mar 28

    One of my biggest pet peeves.

    Here in vancouver we had some of the cheapest LPs/CDs in North America, c/o A&B Sound. But recently one by one, CD franchises are closing all over town. It is very very sad. I am now forced to shop HMV with their bloated pricing. Thank goodness for Sikora’s for classical music.

    I spent a lot of time and $$$ putting together a nice stereo system with which to enjoy my music. poorly engineered CDs drive me crazy, and I go to great lengths to avoid them. But even those CDs are leagues better than the crappy sound quality one gets from iTunes run through a stereo.
    Why pay $1/song (~$15/CD) for terrible sound quality when you can pay about the same for MUCH much better ? Convenience isn’t all that much better, since programming your playlist takes more time than grabbing a CD off the rack. Will we all be forced to listen to terrible sound quality once the CD is killed off ? Here I was waiting for SACD to make inroads to get to the next level of musical reproduction, but now it seems we are taking a giant step backwards [[sigh]]

  3. James commented on Mar 28


    “Why pay $1/song (~$15/CD) for terrible sound quality when you can pay about the same for MUCH much better ? ”

    I think the reason is the majority of people aren’t elitist audiophiles?

    I don’t care if something has lossy compression or whatever. I just want something to bump to while cleaning around the house. If I lose the faint violins in the background, chances are 90% of the population didn’t care nor notice those violins in the first place.

    I find a similar thing going on these days between HD DVD/Blu Ray and DVDs. People could easily tell the difference between a DVD and VHS. Ask them to tell you the difference between these two new formats and they will probably say they don’t even notice a difference. Only the true videophiles will be able to find the difference.

    This world works on one principle. KISS- Keep it simple stupid.

  4. Barry Ritholtz commented on Mar 28

    I’m with Marcello on this one — I rarely download music from ITMS — mostly due to sound quality.

    The stuff I’ve downloaded is usually because its unavailable anywhere else (i.e., Liz Phair Acoustic Set)

    Give me great fidelity for when I am not listening to an ipod — and I’ll rip my own for then, thank you . . .

  5. MarkTX commented on Mar 28

    I always wondered why ITMS does not offer higher bitrates for their music.

    You could have told me bandwidth 2 or 3 years ago, but now?

    I would personally never rip anything below 192 with a LAME or AAC encoder. The file size is not that much bigger especially given the fact that hard drive and MP3 players have mucho high capacities now.

  6. JKB commented on Mar 28

    The CD is not dead, the crappy music store is dead. It’s buying online with samples to listen to. It’s been years since I listened to a radio station. CDbaby is where I shop. You have to search but you find that NY singer who is only known in the local scene or the one from Peoria. Are CD sales down or are the homogenized pabulum CDs sales down? Let’s face it, innovation in the major label distribution is few and far between while the innovators are out there waiting. The music exec is dead, long live the music.

  7. Jeff commented on Mar 28

    I really don’t think there is anything “elitist” about wanting good value for your money. The record labels have managed to shed manufacturing, packaging and distribution costs, yet they expect us to pay almost the same price as when we purchase the CD.

    If you want to bump around your apartment, fine, but keep in mind that other people might want something more out of their music purchase.

  8. Null commented on Mar 28

    I swear my 1980 walkman sounds better than my wife’s state of the art MP3 player. (BTW it still works her first MP3 player didn’t last a year)

    A lot of us still do care about sound quality. I’ll stick with CDs until I can buy uncompressed music over the internet.

  9. Steven Walcott commented on Mar 28

    as a recording engineer, it’s good to see some people wanting music to sound good and complaining about the sound quality of downloadable music.

    a lot of bands, overpriced cds, the list goes on and on and is repeated often here and all over the net. the question is why don’t the large companies that own the large music labels divest these assets to someone else who could do a better job? the catalogs are worth money, the publishing is worth money, but that value will erode as more and more people get turned off to music.

Read this next.

Posted Under