Interesting vinyl/Cd article

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by thetman, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. thetman

    thetman Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  2. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    I can relate to and agree with every word of that article.
  3. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    I agree. I’ve been saying a lot of this, less eloquently, for ages.:)

    It does worry me that the industry is treating the CD so badly now. Especially as it’s still the biggest selling physical medium by far! I get that they want us to buy vinyl as there’s a lot more profit in it, but I can’t understand why the formats can’t co-exist. I know the 23.5m CD sales of last year is down on the year before, but I’m sure some of this is their fault anyway! I can’t believe the record industry is doing so well that it can afford to risk losing the aforementioned 23.5m sales..

    At the very least, I suppose I’ll now get to understand how vinyl fans felt in the 90s when new albums stopped being pressed on the format. Looks like the CD is heading the same way.
  4. thetman

    thetman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I would hate to see the CD format go by the wayside, since I still buy cds. Some of my favorite music purchases this past year were the Elton mini-lp CDs. fantastic collection.
    But on the other hand some of my favorites this past year were also on vinyl, Alice Cooper colored vinyl reissues come to mind.
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  5. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    The Elton SHM CDs were great. They sounded fantastic but had the beautiful packaging of vinyl LPs. What more could you want?:D
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  6. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    For me it’s essential to have good playback gear for vinyl, CDs, files, and streaming in order to avoid all the gaps and market distortions and general format-disruption weirdness that is getting between listeners and the best versions of releases these days. The fantastic new G is for Go-Betweens Vol. 2 box, for example, involves vinyl, CDs, and hi-res downloads. That kind of format incoherence is not going away.

    That said, I’m totally uninterested in the inevitable and galactically tedious format war spats that break out in these kinds of discussions. Neither vinyl nor CD are “winning” and CDs sales will continue to plummet and important new releases will increasingly skip manufactured CDs altogether. Right now CD players and computer disk drives are approximately where turntables were circa 1995.
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  7. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    The only good thing to take from it for me is that I bought a load of great cheap vinyl albums in the 90s and early 2000s and I'm buying loads of cheap CDs now. I like both formats a lot and like you, don't see why they can't co-exist and compliment each other.
  8. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    I can see myself always being 'no vinyl or CD, no sale'. I don't have to be completist with any artist. Perhaps a Queen live recording from the late 70s would tempt me, but they're big enough they'll always release everything on vinyl and CD. There's a lot of scaremongering going on but CDs will not die out completely for a very long time. They are cheap to manufacture and are still very popular with passionate music fans aged 40+. Even the kind of people who only buy a couple of big albums a year (possibly Adele, Ed Sheeran) in that massive age range are going to often buy it on CD.

    Among young people, K-pop sells very well on CD. The packaging is very creative on those and they make it something special for the fans. 68% of sales of the last BTS album were CD in the UK. In retail stores CDs will probably become few and far between soon, they already are really, but they'll be selling respectably online for a long time to come, though obviously nowhere near their peak. That's gone and it's never coming back, just like vinyl's peak.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  9. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I don't disagree at all with the article. But the record industry isn't going to continue to exist by supporting an obviously less profitable medium that is on the decline. I fully understand the complaints about some albums getting vinyl release but not a CD release. I actually didn't know this was a thing until I read the cited instances in the article. I lived through the '90s where most albums were never released to vinyl. Vinyl was the dying product back then. But the claim the CDs made the record industry Billions, isn't sufficient reason to continue to make CD. I'm not suggesting that CDs should not continue to be pressed. But the record industry didn't make those Billions, just to lose with poor business practices. I don't anticipate the CD going away any time soon, but the medium offers no real advantages over a downloadable FLAC file from a sound quality point of view. It's the same data. While I agree the article that rental through streaming services is the future rather than download, the fact is the we're at point where even the CD's successor in the downloadable file has been proven an undesirable product. I don't know when CDs will be discontinued, but I've arrived at a very different view from what I thought in the '90s. The CD will not outlive the vinyl record. The cassette tape couldn't the LP; the CD is next to go.
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  10. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    That's if anything goes. There's nothing to say anything has too. CD sales are plummeting, but at some point that decline will stop, with a significant amount of people still buying them. It doesn't have to be big selling or nothing at all. There's a lot of enthusiastic music fans who still like and buy CDs. They aren't going to all go away and give up the habit of a near lifetime very quickly. We're a long way from CDs becoming what vinyl was in the 1990s. Vast amounts of back catalogue items across all genres are still in print on CD.
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  11. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    The worrying thing is that there was still a big market for vinyl in the 90s. They just stopped making it anyway! I knew quite a few people who had no real interest in CD but had to get a player if they wanted to buy new music.
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  12. Django

    Django Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    Good article. I agree with the points made.
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  13. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Vinyl is a lot more expensive to manufacture and distribute. I was an indie fan throughout the 90s and don't remember anything in that genre not being released on vinyl. The quantities were sometimes very small though. What surprised me most was how quickly artists almost entire catalogues were deleted on vinyl. It seems incredible that most of Queen, The Rolling Stones, Hendrix, The Who, Dylan, Neil Young, Bowie and many other big artists catalogues were totally unavailable new on vinyl for such a long time. That hasn't happened with CD yet. With so many online sites available to sell them, I don't think it will soon. Vinyl's resurgence began when online shopping became big. It was easy to buy again. In the 90s there was not much you could do about it if the major chain stores wouldn't stock a format. It doesn't matter now.
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  14. old school

    old school Senior Member

    The Japanese will always manufacturer cd's so I'm not worried the format will die out completely. In the article it said 24.5 million cd's were sold in 2019. To be honest I would of thought it would not be that many so that's great for the cd lovers. I have about 600 hundred vinyl mostly imports from the 60s & 70s ln storage that I bought back in the day but I never play vinyl anymore. But I have them if I get a turntable again.
  15. shadlet

    shadlet Forum Resident

    I think we have all seen this article. I think it was posted somewhere here on the forum:
    The End of Owning Music: How CDs and Downloads Died
    The writer summarizes with, "Streaming in the car and kitchen, vinyl in the living room and the den. Those will be the two formats."
    I don't agree with his pat write-off of CDs. That's why I was glad to see Paul Sinclair's balanced look (I think) at the current situation.
    I'm glad to see the resurgence of the vinyl I grew up with. But I think there are huge pluses to both formats.
    Stone Turntable and Pouchkine like this.

    ANALOGUE OR DEATH Forum Resident

    Nothing new in the article.Anyone who has been buying vinyl for as long as many of us (for myself that's 40+ years without a break) is only too aware that current vinyl sales still only make up a small percentage of overall physical format sales.
    The article implies that everyone has fallen for the idea that vinyl had overtaken CD in sales.Surely anyone with a modicum of common sense knew this not to be the case.
    However,the fact remains that CD sales are falling and vinyl sales are rising.Will this continue? I think CD will continue to diminish as a preferred physical format,but this will mainly be losing out to non physical formats,whatever form they take in the future.
    As far as vinyl records go.Well for me,I've been listening to music in what might be termed a semi serious manner for those 40+ years.By this I mean how virtually all of us who participate in this forum listen,not just as background noise but taking time out to sit down and listen properly with no distractions.I have many CD s in my collection and I enjoy listening to them.But in all that time I have yet to come across another format,either physical or not,that could get me closer to the music than vinyl records.
    My prediction is that sales in vinyl will continue to rise as a percentage of physical sales for a little while longer.Then they will fall back again as some of those that have joined the current upswing dropout again.However,some will stick with it and continue to enjoy the benefits,and tear their hair out at the downsides!

    How this plays out in the long term is open to debate as we don't know how new generations of music lovers will want to access music,let alone how much relevance they will place on convenience over sound quality.We also don't know what new technology for sound reproduction will look like.
  17. mahanusafa02

    mahanusafa02 Forum Resident


    ANALOGUE OR DEATH Forum Resident

    I was continuing to buy new vinyl all the way through the 90's.It was there,but you had to be quick.I bought most of the new releases by the likes of Bowie,Neil Young,Nick Cave,Supergrass and loads of others.Shops such as Track in York and via mail order from Diverse in Newport continued to soldier on.

    For more obscure limited edition psych and underground stuff it was mail order from Delerium(The Freak Emporium).God I miss that place!
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  19. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    I did too, but not as much as I should have done. I went to uni in 1995 and didn't take a record player with me so I dropped off with it a bit then. I soon got a crap record player sorted. It was awful, Crosley bad, but I put it through a decent amp and speakers and was happy. Good times.

    I played The Beatles Anthology triple LPs and the BBC double vinyl on that thing!
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  20. Nicely exposed the ‘fake news’ article about vinyl outselling CD’s last year with some facts like statistics. Nothing against vinyl either, but like Paul @ SDE states, don’t abandon the CD format!

    SDE editor Paul Sinclair explores the BPI’s latest report into UK music consumption in 2019

    Last week in the SDE Newsletter (subscribe here!) I wrote an exclusive editorial entitled ‘format wars’ which articulated my views on the so-called ‘vinyl revival’ and particularly the marginalisation of the CD format in mainstream music media. This gathered quite a bit of interest and comment, so I’m publishing it here on SDE in an expanded (but not remastered!) version, with some ‘bonus’ thoughts.

    I want to make it clear that not only do I like vinyl, but I own thousands of vinyl records. I know there are some great things about vinyl but I’m also a big fan of the CD format and it pains me to see the industry adopting a rather laissez-faire attitude when it comes to promoting and to some extent protecting the format from what they seem to view as inevitable decline. So, without further ado, read the piece below. Figures are from the British Phonographic Industry’s (BPI) report from the beginning of this year. All data quoted is from the Official Charts Company.

    Were you aware that 4.3m vinyl records were sold in the UK in 2019? Sounds impressive, but in the same period 23.5m CDs were also bought by music fans.

    Not that you’d really know it. Music media seems obsessed in bending the narrative – and bending the knee – to the perceived ‘king’ of formats: VINYL. The coverage is such that unless you have access to the data, you’d presume – in sales terms – that vinyl and CDs were neck and neck, or even that vinyl was ahead. Whereas actually, the reality is that CDs still sell more than five times as many units as vinyl records, in the UK.

    If you think I’m a paranoid CD fanboy imagining this, then below are are few examples:

    • In October last year, UK radio station Classic FM ran a story with the headline “Vinyl records to outsell CDs in 2019 for the first time in 40 years“. If you read the article there are no facts (or even trends) to back this up. It’s simply not true. And just to add a bit of extra absurdity to the various assertions, the same article claims that it’s easy to see why people are moving to “sturdy” vinyl because CDs get “easily scratched”!

    • Here’s another one. This month The Quietus reported that “Vinyl Sales Continued Their Ascent” in 2020, suggesting that vinyl would soon be atop some kind of sales ‘summit’. King of the castle. The truth – as the BPI’s latest figures show – is that 74 percent of music consumption in the UK is now via streaming, with 18 percent from physical album sales. That 18 percent equates to 28m physical albums sold in the UK, of which – wait for it – just 4.3m were vinyl. Around 15 percent of the total. CDs have 84 percent of that market. Despite the downward sales trend, even in their report, the BPI said that the CD was “resilient”. In terms of all album consumption, streaming comes first with ‘streaming equivalent albums’ numbering 114.2m, CDs next with 23.5m albums physically sold and then vinyl with 4.3m. But The Quietus assure us that vinyl continues its ‘ascent’!?

    • One can’t blame The Vinyl Factory for promoting vinyl and not bigging up CDs, but at least get the facts right. They tweetedVinyl sales hit record growth in 2019‘ which is very misleading. Vinyl sales in 2018 were 4.2m units. Last year 4.3m units were sold. The growth figures are actually a modest – 4.1 percent year-on-year. Between 2015 and 2016 the growth figures were over 50 percent, so ‘growth’ has dropped dramatically. More bending of the knee/narrative.

    Let’s not be coy, CD sales dropped by 26.5 percent last year, which is clearly a very big fall, but it’s frustrating, because sometimes it seems as if record labels have accepted the CD is doomed and there is nothing they can do about it.

    One thing they could do is to actually release music on CD when there is an opportunity! Universal Music took a whole year to issue the recent Police box set on CD, Sony didn’t bother to release the last Bruce Springsteen remasters on CD (or the new ones) and last year’s Prefab Sprout reissues weren’t issued on compact disc either! BMG were virtually shamed into putting the last Yazoo package out on CD in 2018, after initially announcing it was vinyl only (fans complained bitterly on SDE and they relented) and back in 2017, Paul McCartney infamously wouldn’t include a fourth CD in his £130 Flowers in the Dirt box set, preferring to deliver this content via digital download! What is going on? The initiative known as Record Store Day, which is designed to help independent record shops prosper, virtually ignores CDs as well. Last week, when a twitter debate ensued after the SDE newsletter editorial, the official Record Store Day twitter feed tried to defend this saying they “work on a lot of CD-only projects”. Really? News to me! They also betray their favouritism to vinyl saying “the most ‘exciting’ format dominates.” Hmm.

    What I find most frustrating is that the lack of proactivity. The CD made the industry BILLIONS and now that same industry has become the most fair-weather of friends. What measures are being implemented to stop or slow the natural decline? Seen any marketing campaigns recently promoting the benefits of CDs? Me neither. Meanwhile labels are ploughing time and effort into producing and marketing cassette tapes of which 80,000 were sold last year (mainly as trinkets in bundles, it has to be said).

    Here’s something to consider. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 he realised that the operating system and hardware – in fact the entire Apple business – was doomed if Microsoft stopped supporting the Apple operating system, with their Office suite of applications. He recognised this threat and took action, negotiating a deal with Bill Gates for a five-year commitment from Microsoft to release Microsoft Office for Macintosh.

    I’m not unaware of the irony of referring to Steve Jobs, whose iPod and iTunes Music store had a terrible impact on physical music sales in the early 2000s, but you have to ask where were the visionaries in the music industry five to ten years ago who recognised the threat from car manufacturers to the CD format, as they sought to do away with CD players and switch to bluetooth audio streaming? People loved playing CDs in their car – and critically it was something you definitely couldn’t do with vinyl – so where were the partnerships, incentives, joint ventures with Ford, GM, BMW etc. to ensure that they supported what was – and still is – the most popular physical music format? If there were any, I don’t recall hearing about them. With no CD players in their new cars, consumers simply have another reason to stop buying them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Who buys CDs anymore?”

    If CDs outsell vinyl massively – which they do – then why is the format being ignored and treated like some kind of black sheep of the physical format family? Why not take action to slow the decline? What about people who don’t own a turntable? They aren’t been given a choice. They, apparently, are expected to do without the latest reissues, which is a weird way to treat your customers. They have money burning a hole in their pocket and, by the way, streaming is not a choice if you wish to own the physical product.

    If feels a bit like manipulation, if I’m honest. We were told to ditch vinyl and buy CDs in the late 80s and 1990s. Now we are being encouraged to buy vinyl again and if the CD is indeed trudging very slowly towards the cliff edge of extinction, the industry appears to be giving it a big shove in the back, to help it on its way!

    Of course, I realise much of this is down to money. Vinyl is a more profitable product. You only have to look at The Allman Brothers Band box set that was announced this week. The five-CD edition is about £40, the 10LP vinyl set is TEN TIMES more at around £400. That’s an extreme example, but in general you’re looking at £10 for a new CD and £20 for a vinyl LP. The industry clearly see vinyl as a growing market and CDs as a declining one, but things can change very quickly. After exponential growth a few years ago, vinyl sales are showing signs of plateauing at around the 4-5m mark in the UK, and it was only a few years ago that digital album downloads (which fell by over 28 percent last year) were heralded as a new era for music ‘consumption’.

    Streaming is now undoubtedly the future of music for the wider population. In 2010, 72.7 percent of all albums were ‘consumed’ via physical products. Now ten years later that figure is down to 18.2 percent. The streaming market, which didn’t exist ten years ago, makes up 74.4 percent of all music consumption. We, my friends, are now part of a niche audience. A minority. I know plenty of people who no longer have a CD player in their house, or a turntable for that matter and just don’t ‘get’ owning a CD.

    But hey, being in a club is good. It’s fun. It’s intense and we need to stick together. The music industry should value us, and our opinions and not play us for fools. Fans who have bought CDs for 30 years aren’t going to suddenly dump everything off at their local charity shop and be happy to ‘rent’ all their music monthly from a streaming service and neither will they switch to vinyl overnight just because they see Sgt.Pepperin Sainsbury’s in a vinyl rack opposite the chicken breasts, or because a journalist for a trendy publication writes about ‘the vinyl revival’. Stop manipulating us; stop these ‘vinyl-only’ remasters and show some respect. Time to bend the knee to the still passionate 40, 50, 60, 70 year olds who lined your pockets between the 1960s and the end of the 1990s.

    Cassettes aside (and that really is a blip and pure manipulation) with 4.3m units sold, vinyl remains officially the least popular way to listen to music albums in the UK at this present time. Last year more albums were streamed (114.2m), more CDs were bought (23.5m) and even more digital albums were purchased (7.3m).

    There is some light at the end of the rainbow. The BPI state in their report that “enthusiasts also love to feed their passion for music by investing in premium-quality collections and box sets. So while they may be buying fewer CDs as a whole, they are tending to spend more on enhanced versions of recordings featuring premium and collectible packaging.” I think we know who they are referring to.

    Also, interestingly, the BPI reported that physical remains the “kingmaker for number one albums”, stating that in 29 out of the 52 weeks last year physical accounted for over HALF of the sales of the number one album. So physical is diminishing, as a proportion of the overall market, percentage wise, but punches above its weight in terms of influence.

    What’s your view on this situation? Please leave a comment. The BPI has made some (not all) of the data available to the public, which can be viewed here.
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  21. AB40

    AB40 Forum Resident

    Between my purchase of Volume 1 and now, Domino decided it was no longer taking Australian orders. Meaning, if I want the box, I have to buy it from an Australian reseller for double the price of the original box. I mean, I can buy half-a-guitar for that, or half a cheap car. Is it really worth it, especially as these records will most likely just end up being sold at an estate sale after I die? I've noticed now the Boomers are dying off, how cheaply you can pick up albums that were once adored by their generation, especially due to everything being repressed. About two years ago, I bought a bunch of Boomer Totems - Tapestry', 'Band on the run', 'Led Zepplin' and many more - for the sum total of $4.

    I decided I can live without the Go-Betweens box, especially as the first box made me think: "You know, I loved them back in the day, but, now I'm older, they really don't live up to their hype to justify the exploitative cost." Particularly as that 80's hype was originated by Australian Music Journalists who were close friends of the band.

    I miss the golden era of vinyl collecting (1993-2005). The new releases were cheap - Matthew Sweet's 'Altered Beast', Soundgarden's 'Superunknown' (for $2!), REM's "Automatic for The People", Velvet Crush's 'Teenage Symphonies To God', Martin Newell's 'Greatest Living Englishman', Divine Comedy's 'Promenade', amongst others - and getting your records pressed was affordable. Once the majors decided to clog up the presses with reissues of boring mass culture like late 80's Kim Wilde albums, it was over, because the backlog made it prohibitive for indie artists to get what they had to say out quickly.
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  22. Antenociticus

    Antenociticus Forum Resident

    Isn't it funny that the industry is trying to kill off the CD when the prices of new ones are probably at their lowest level?
    Back in the 1980's CDs cost 3 to 4 times the price of the similar LP. (UK prices: £5 for an LP, £12-15 for a CD) Back then we were told this new technology was so expensive. Now that market forces have driven CD prices down to a tenner or less, the record companies are pushing vinyl LPs at £ 18 - 20. Colour me surprised!
  23. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    Great article by Paul.

    What's most interesting of course is: what is going to kill streaming, because history has shown nothing lasts as a leading format.
  24. negative1

    negative1 80s retro fan

    Nothing. As long as people are connected to the internet, there is no point in another


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