The convenience and low cost of downloading music, as well as the ability to play music files on a range of devices, has meant revenue from the sale of physical discs has been dropping for many years. However, reports suggest that 1 million CDs are still sold in the US each week, suggesting that there’s still a market out there of people who want to buy hard copies of music by their favourite artists.
Nonetheless, Side Line Music Magazine claims that it has uncovered quite a scoop – that the world’s major music labels, including Sony, Universal and EMI, are planning to switch to using digital download services completely by the end of 2012.
“The only CD-formats that will be left over will be the limited edition ones, which will of course not be available for every artist,” claims the site, who says it was “approached by several people working with major labels.” “The distribution model for these remaining CD releases would be primarily Amazon which is already the biggest CD retailer worldwide anyhow.”
Audio CDs have been commercially available since October 1982, and by 2007 200 billion CDs were reported to have been sold worldwide. In more recent times, however, with the popularity of downloading via the internet and the introduction of flash drives and devices such as the iPod, sales of physical discs have been dropping on a yearly basis.
UK retailer HMV appears to have been bracing itself over the past couple of years for the end of the CD, becoming increasingly focused on selling headphones, which have risen hugely in popularity, as well as tablets, mp3 players and smartphones.
Are we really ready for the end of the CD just yet? Will record labels ever stop producing hard copies?
We’re not convinced that this is going to happen for a while yet, not while CDs are still continuing to sell - albeit not in as huge quantities as before. Come to think about it though, we can't even remember the last we bought a CD.