Feb 3 2018
07:12 am

Best Buy announces they will no longer sell CDs, Target pressures labels for consignment-only sales.

Streaming has killed physical media. CD sales dropped from 800 million in 2001 to 89 million last year according to the article. At least digital downloads are still available. I recommend 7 Digital for CD quality downloads.

Tidal streams CD quality, and Qobuz has announced they are coming soon to the US. Deezer has limited availability but appears to be expanding with a new desktop app. Spotify is king for compressed files that sound pretty good for a cheap price.

Hope the artists figure out how to get paid.

Average Guy's picture

Think the artist have


Don't blame them and happy they're getting it, just don't know how sustainable it is.

WhitesCreek's picture

Songwriters are getting

Songwriters are getting screwed the most.

Somebody's picture


Napster and Tidal apparently pay the most to artists, but have minimal market share. Apple pays nearly twice what Spotify does, and is the only one with enough market share for that to be meaningful.

Also, with lamentations about recorded music formats, when you consider the heyday of a given format, 78 rpm records probably lasted the longest, at maybe 20 years. 33 rpm records overall might have had a longer duration, but when you break that up into lo-fi, hi-fi and then stereo, it’s less. Cassettes started to kill LPs, then CDs made the real blow, but it wasn’t that long before pirated file sharing started to clobber CDs, and it wasn’t until iTunes opened up a store that a lot of people started thinking about paying anything for music again. Then paid (or ad-supported) streaming services started taking over, and here we are.

150 years ago all music was live or nothing. It’s really only been 80 or 90 years that mass-market recorded music has even been a thing. When the Beatles were an active enterprise in the 1960s, the BBC actually limited the amount of “needle time,” preserving space for live performances.

So it’s important to contextualize the history of recorded music, and realize that formats for distribution have really only lasted just long enough for each subsequent generation to think of a given format as representative of the ‘good old days,’ when they have actually been almost as fleeting as the pop music trends that dominated those formats.

The other oft-missed truth is the fact that while everyone spends their time arguing with each other about the merits of various high-end audiophile stuff, the sound quality of the mass-market stuff that most people listen to has progressively improved over time. You can argue the finer points of 180-gram vinyl pressings ‘til the cows come home, but the fact is, a kid listening to streamed music through wireless EarPods is having a much better quality audio experience than a kid 30 years ago listening to a mass pressed LP or mass-produced cassette through a K-mart or Radio Shack rack stereo. And unlike the days when a kid was limited by whatever content they could find at K-mart or at the local record store (staffed either by their un-knowledgeable peers or by esoterica snobs), a kid today who’s curious about what exists beyond Nicki Minaj has access to pretty much any recording of any genre from any time, without negotiating with a highly opinionated hipster to make a selection and place a special order for physical media. That’s a pretty significant democratization of the musical experience.

yellowdog's picture

I guess but there still is the issue of musicians being paid

well and often enough for them to keep at it. The Big Stars in pop will be ok, but that is a small and generally uninteresting slice.

Somebody's picture

Absolutely. That’s not a new

Absolutely. That’s not a new problem, though.

michael kaplan's picture

Local musicians still 'play

Local musicians still 'play for exposure,' meaning they're encouraged to sell their CDs (which no one buys anymore) at the venue.

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