Cd’s when are they obsolete ?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by pocofan, Apr 7, 2018.

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  1. TheGMaster

    TheGMaster Well-Known Member

    I have been trolling through these kinds of threads a lot, and I do want to share my 2 cents.

    First of all, I am young, like in my 20s. I never use streaming services (except for YouTube when sampling songs) and I only buy CDs and occasionally download a track that I like, and never buy vinyl nor cassette. It's not as if I hate vinyl, and hate that people are buying vinyl (in fact I do see why people like vinyl), I really just don't care for it personally.

    I remember when I was growing up around the turn of the Millennium, CDs were literally everywhere, I mean the format was inescapable. Over time though, I did certainly notice a shift in buying patterns to where that leaves us today in regards to CDs.

    In and around 1999-2004, along with the traditional pop music, like *NSYNC and whatever, I also started listening to my parents CDs early on, mostly listening to reggae and classical, as my dad has a quite sizeable classical collection of CDs. I remember I like all the jewel cases of all those 80s CDs and the ritual of putting them on the disc changer. As a side-note, we never torrented, ever and my parents were sure to reinforce that in me early on.

    My serious music listening phase took off in around 2005, when I got my first iPod and I really started to pull them off the shelves. I remember my first one that I really listened to was Love over Gold by Dire Straits (the original Vertigo swirl, I may add!), and they are still one of my favorites. Then, in and around 2008, I moved on to digital downloads, with the occasional CD purchase, while still listening to my parents CDs of U2, Boston, Dire Straits, etc. I also started to listen to YouTube for music.

    It wasn't until mid-2011, in which I really really really started to collect CDs. Since then I haven't looked back, and have, to this date attained quite a sizeable collection. And that leads me to my real point, in that the years from around 2008 to 2016 were arguably the absolute best time to collect CDs. Because, there was a choice.

    I will explain what I mean but first I want to acknowledge that the years between 2016-2018 (and, in my opinion, onward from here), while they have kind of taken a bit of a downslide in terms of being able to buy them, people clearly still do buy CDs (although in smaller quantities), and they are still able to be purchased at brick and mortar stores (although less of them are stocking them) and online, and there are still plenty of devices that. In truth, despite this decline (yes I am aware there is one), I still have managed to buy a lot of new and albums, albeit just not quite as easily and I still think I will be able to in the near future (yes I do, they are still going to be here in the near future).

    Getting pack to my point about the "choice," one thing that I don't think that people realize about the 2010s, especially the early 2010s is the jaw-dropping amount of media choices that were available. Heck, Blockbuster was still around until 2013. 2013! It was really only the narrow window of time between the years of 2011-2012, when virtually everybody who consumed music or video could do one or all of the following things:
    1. buy a CD from their local record store or big box store for less than an arm and a leg (for the most part)
    2. play it in their car stereo as there were next to zero cars that didn't have them at this point (yes I do acknowledge there are fewer CD players in cars, but I mean there are still 2019 cars that do have them so idk)
    3. pop it into their disc drive on their computers (yes, I (and I'm sure many others who still use discs) do use an external drive for my computer downstairs that doesn't have one, but I digress)
    4. purchase a download off of iTunes
    5. head down to Blockbuster and pick up a DVD/Blu-ray or video game for a week
    6. head down to Redbox and pick a DVD/Blu-ray or video game for a week
    7. head down to their local video rental store and pick up a DVD/Blu-ray for a week
    8. head down to their local library and pick up a DVD/Blu-ray for a week
    9. buy a new VCR and watch old VHS tapes (they were pretty much eliminated from the marketplace in 2007)
    10. watch Netflix digitally
    11. watch Netflix on DVD
    12. listen to downloaded music on your iPhone
    13. listen to Spotify on your iPhone
    14. I guess torrent music or videos, although I wouldn't support that
    and I would say that this narrow pinhole of time between 2011-2012 was an absolutely magical period of time for choice in terms of home media that nobody really even bothered to realize was there. Literally EVERYTHING was available. Nobody (I guess unless they had a MacBook Air or a Tesla or a Smart Car) would have ever really said that they "don't have a CD player anymore" during this time period. I mean think about it, this wasn't even a decade ago!

    As for my collecting years between 2011-2016 (as a side note my favorite record chain closed the following year which left me devastated), while I have seen stores come and go (for those of you who are hearing that Best Buy is stopping the sale of CDs, realize that in my country, they stopped selling them in 2014, and I have survived lol).

    Now as of 2018, while I still do manage to find new CDs either online, at a store, or through special order, I will agree that a lot has changed over those 6-7 years, and I am both very, very pessimistic, yet skeptical about the rise of streaming. I would say that I am skeptical because I think it is too good to be true. If streaming is the future, why is it that both Spotify still fails to make money and artists still fail to make money off of them? Why is it that Jimmy Iovine agrees that streaming is not a good business model? Because it's not, and that's what worries me about the future of the music industry, that people are going to get used to streaming even though this whole "unlimited music for little to no money" business may in fact be a blip in time. The music industry has seen formats come and go, and only ones that really work (like vinyl, CD, and even cassette to a degree) will continue to last for decades upon decades.

    As for the CD, I think it will be fine, because it will be an alternative to vinyl. While sales may certainly not be 2000-level, or will ever be, they will remain to experience at least halfway decent sales in the near futures. While people have said that CDs will not experience a comeback, I for one think that they absolutely will, maybe at around 2028 or 2032. I think this is the result of 1) the fact that it is fundamentally a good format (unlike cassette which has true inescapable flaws) 2) the simple fact that they will last a long time with minimal care 3) the fact that I, among many other people who like collecting don't really care for vinyl much for various reasons (that I will mention below I promise) will want an alternative physical format 4) the longevity and consistency of the format 5) the fact that there are so many parallels to the vinyl resurgence that it is hard to reconcile (they were once "uncool" so everybody started dumping them for cheap, and now they're as of 2018 hip and cool right now) 6) I think people might think CDs could be aesthetically "cool" in the future too, but this is hard to prove. 7) I think maybe even streaming may cease or become too restrictive

    For me personally, I still collect CDs because they are cheaper than vinyl, more fulfilling than downloads, as convenient and practical as cassettes in terms of portability, I like to look at them, I like to read the booklets, and honestly I don't really like the idea having to buy several different pieces of equipment in order to play them (just my PERSONAL view, okay), and I love playing them in the car. It's honestly the only way that I listen to music while driving or being driven and I will not every buy a car new or used that either 1) does not have them or 2) does not have the ability to modify them so I can add one aftermarket. I also despise that, even though several car companies still do have them, many car companies are not just eliminating the CD player in cars (come on it's like one measly slot!) but are also making them harder to modify, taking away the factor of choice and customizability, but that's kind of a different story. Finally I also like being able to support artists by buying them new, even though I also buy used.

    I think the major problem is not the decline in popularity, but the idea that it is obsolete when it truly isn't. Perceived obsolescence and functional obsolescence. To me, I think that it is part of a greater plan to eliminate choice by eliminating physical media altogether, which I frankly find alarming. All I know is that I like the idea that when my great grandkids pull out my copies of Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, and Vampire Weekend from my IKEA boxes in 2100, that they will still likely be able to play them (I think it's been widely established that widespread disc rot is kind of a myth, and that it only

    Anyway, I could literally go on and on and on and on and on and on about this, but I will have to cut it short, so in short (or in long, whatever) that's basically my whole spiel on them. No, they are not obsolete and they never really will be.
    Robert C, nosliw, ceddy10165 and 14 others like this.
  2. Ironbelly

    Ironbelly Forum Resident

    Porto, Portugal
    ;) Yes, backup and a backup of backup ;).
    shaboo and Grant like this.
  3. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    A person worried about rippin' CDs in the future could buy two or three burners. They are dirt cheap, and they last years with proper care. Then, if one dies, just use another one that you have sitting on the shelf in a plastic bag.

    If you have a machine without a burner, and no place to install one, just buy an enclosure and use it as a USB drive. USB isn't going anywhere.
  4. Takehaniyasubiko

    Takehaniyasubiko Forum Resident

    You know what really grinds my gears in the CD debate?

    "Oh, this CD sounds so harsh!"

    No, the CD doesn't have a sound. Unlike vinyl, I might add, which actually has a sound of its own in a sense (which is why I hate the format - sorry, I don't want any analogue dirt added to music as a byproduct of playing a vinyl record).

    The *mastering* sounds harsh. Blame the mastering because then the clueless music companies will start to address the issue. By using improper language, you're creating a misconception which then leads to trashing a great music format that is Compact Disc Digital Audio.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    13th Floor Elevators?
  6. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    I listen to records 90% of the time, but I hope CDs remain. They are indispensable for many titles, especially in classical music, where certain titles are extremely hard to find - if not altogether inexistent. The only thing I hope would be obsolete - and not too soon - are the tight ''record sleeves'' in some box sets where you have to almost pry the cd out of its sleeve. Didn't someone test them beforehand?
    Rhapsody In Red likes this.
  7. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    What about all of the analogue dirt that was added before it maded to a cd?
  8. Takehaniyasubiko

    Takehaniyasubiko Forum Resident

    Fully controlled during the production by professionals and it's not even remotely close to the amount of dirt produced by the vinyl format and the process of playing it at home, which people erroneously keep calling "warmth". However, this too shall pass.
  9. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    When people say, "This CD sounds harsh!" it should be self-evident to you that they are talking about the mastering.

    Sorry that you hate vinyl, but that doesn't mean that all CD's are great, or that people can't naturally understand the difference between an individual CD and the format as a whole. And we've all been saying, "the mastering, the mastering, the mastering" here for nearly 20 years and the music companies have not been all that responsive. The record companies don't put out squashed CD's because we use "improper language", they do it because they think they can sell them.
    Rhapsody In Red and shaboo like this.
  10. Takehaniyasubiko

    Takehaniyasubiko Forum Resident

    It doesn't matter if it's evident to me. The whole language is wrong. That mental shortcut created a bad reputation for the format when the format isn't to blame. A typical customer will not stop by and think why the sound on a given CD is harsh. It will be filed under "crap format". The actual reason why vinyls aren't so loud is because they can't be. There's a technological barrier, so the companies need to produce vinyl records like that. The music industry still doesn't understand that dynamic range compression sucks ass and they need to kill THAT, not CDs.

    CDs are great, actually. Mainly because they were designed to meet human hearing limits and can last a long time while not requiring a lot of money to produce.
  11. Gaslight

    Gaslight Modern Cad

    Northeast USA
    (reponding back to this area of your post) I think 2018, here in the US at least, still offers similar options.

    You've got LP/CD and now cassettes, plus of course more niche SACD / BD offerings. Digital downloads still exist plus some hi-res downloads offerings now. And for movies there's Redbox, some local mom and pop stores (Blockbuster being the main difference today since its essentially dead), Netflix streaming and for mailers still exist, And of course lots of music streaming options. Heck, I read that RTR might be making a resurgence soon.

    We could be at a tipping point soon, however - as I think you were alluding to. In a decade or so I could see a lot of these non-streaming options to be more niche than currently is the case today. The music industry itself is doing well with this streaming model and are actually increasing profits over the last few years. How this will pan out for consumers is anyone's guess, but for myself if I have the option to own the media I enjoy, I'll continue doing that.
  12. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    You're off your rocker. CD's don't have a bad reputation caused by improper language used here or anywhere else. CD's are falling in popularity because of other digital formats and delivery systems that are more convenient and portable.

    I agree that CD's are great and I own hundreds of them, but not ALL CD's are great and it's perfectly proper when speaking about a CD that is poorly mastered to say, "This CD sucks."
  13. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    What people call the "warmth" is just a form of distortion that they're fond of.
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  14. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I've been seeing the number of available CDs at stores dropping for quite a while, going from a significant amount of floor to only a few small racks.

    It was preceded by a significant reduction in the number of available portable CD players. A few years ago I saw what was happening and decided to buy a number of CD/MP3 players while there were still some good ones available.

    However, despite the elimination of CDs at big-box stores I think we will see a move to on-line stores as a place to get CDs. I mentioned a while ago that I'd like to see an on-line store designed like you are walking into a record store. You can walk around the virtual aisles and roam the store. It would try and duplicate the record store experience, complete with wooden racks, slightly confusing organization (they put all of The Beatles related albums together with The Beatles Proper, then the individual members, then the related artists, including The Rutles), virtual customers who argue about music, and even (if you choose) the stereotypical snarky cashier to check you out.
    Rhapsody In Red likes this.
  15. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Dude, did you write this in 1995? :D
  16. Takehaniyasubiko

    Takehaniyasubiko Forum Resident

    Get out into the wild and see what ordinary people think. If you think the industry depends on people like us who go to audiophile forums and talk about minutiae of sound engineering, then you're disconnected from reality. CDs have a bed rep exactly because of the ******** mental shortcuts like "This CD sounds so harsh!". An average person doesn't even realize CD is technically superior to vinyl in every way. Hell, an average person wouldn't sacrifice 5 minutes on Wikipedia to learn what dynamic range really is. The masses think with slogans and the hive mind is what drives them.

    Ayuh, except that's really misleading because digital audio can be "warm" without the distortions. As Ludwig put it, the thing about vinyl is that it adds distortions which act like a glue on albums that weren't mixed and mastered professionally. In other words, digital audio is harder to work with in the sense that it highlights all the blemishes.
  17. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I guess I was staying something that is obvious now. However, back in 1995 I don't think I gave it a thought. Then, I wanted music I went to one of my local music stores...sadly all of them are gone now. The only albums I bought without going to a music store were ones from a TV offer (like the Yesterday Once More compilation by the Carpenters) that I actually was able to buy COD or via Columbia House (get 10 CDs for a Penny!).
  18. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    I've bought 3 CD's from a brick and mortar over the last ten years. Seriously. There are virtually none around here.
  19. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Bonn, Germany
    Nonsense. A "typical customer" will not even notice that a particular CD sounds bad. That's exactly the reason why they are mastered and produced as they are!
    Rhapsody In Red and dkmonroe like this.
  20. OptimisticGoat

    OptimisticGoat Taking the Great Leap Forward

    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  21. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Well, I admit that I've never been to Poland, but in the US, the average person listens to music on a smartphone. He did not give up CD's because anyone told him they were "harsh", he gave them up because a smartphone with iTunes or Spotify is much more practical than a portable CD player and a stack of CD's.

    The average person couldn't give a rat's ass about the CD/vinyl debate. Most people outside of forums like this have never heard of it.
  22. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    2116 (hours)



    CDs will be around for awhile... there's only like a billion - zillion of them out there.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  23. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    Take the same master and put it out on an LP and a CD. The CD will be more accurate. If it's mastered "warm", it will be "warm" on the CD, but it will be "warmer" (less accurate) on the LP.
  24. MaestroDavros

    MaestroDavros Forum Resident

    D.C. Metro Area
    I and a couple others have mentioned this earlier in the thread, but I really think that people are so drawn to streaming because deep down it fulfills a need for high quality radio that hasn't existed in the mainstream for some time. If you think about, free streaming with ads is just like your standard radio station, only with the added bonus of having more curation over what is being heard. Fans of streaming don't care about mastering or best versions, they just want music.

    It's also why streaming is not for me.
    brownie61 and RSteven like this.
  25. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    You're saying in the same post that people have a need for high quality radio but don't care about mastering.

    Anyway, how many sources are offering high quality streaming? One?
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