Sign of the times?

Over the years we’ve seen the life and death of many beloved music formats – the vinyl (although these still sort of exist in specialist stores I suppose) and the cassette tape. The same can be said for video formats, the video cassette finally kicking the bucket a few years back, paving the way for the gloriously superior DVD. The entertainment market has always been about survival of the fittest, but in a report featured on the BBC website today, another format could be about to leave us forever. But this time I don’t think it’s quite ready to go…

Niche company Linn Products, based in East Renfrewshire, will next year halt production of CD players altogether in favour of digital streaming equipment. This decision has come after the company realising that this equipment is outselling CD players.

Gilad Tiefenbrun, managing director of Linn Products, said “Our customers have fast recognised the limitations of CD players and in the age of home networking, people now want better control of their music and the ability to enjoy it in any room of their home. CD players no longer belong in the specialist domain.”

He certainly has a point. BPI, who represent the British recorded music industry, revealed last month that 2009 had already broken last year’s record number of legally downloaded single and individual track sales. Of 117 million sales, nearly 99% were digital downloads. While the market for albums is that much higher, even that is in a decline.

Yes, this may be only a niche market giving up on a seeminly obsolete format, but is it a sign of things to come? I certainly hope not, because I can’t say I’m too keen on the idea of downloading albums. When buying a CD you get so much more than just an album – you get a CD featuring that features around 7-15 songs (sometimes even more), a booklet with pictures of the band/artist and occasionally the lyrics of the songs included, a nice case to keep it all in and sometimes even a bonus CD/DVD with features that you couldn’t get from a digital download. They may take up alot of space but boy do they look pretty (and impressive) neatly stacked in a CD rack. I have a collection of atleast 200+ CD’s, and I want to keep seeing that grow, and not have to use an mp3 player to play my music.

My personal stance on mp3s has always been that I’ll download one or two songs by an artist, and if I like those perhaps listen to a few more via online streaming, and if I’m still liking them go out and buy an album. That method has always worked for me, but I realise it isn’t for everyone. Fair enough that some people would rather download their music to their ipod or Zen or whatever the hip kids are using these days, but please, for the sake of those who like the CD….don’t let it die just yet.

The full BBC article can be found here.

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Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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