Physical Music's Final Chapter
How Long Does The Compact Disc Have?
Back in the 90s when I was younger, I totally felt like CDs and CD players were the wave of the future, because I didn't have one and for my peers that did, their cool factor was through the roof! Despite how cool they made you look if you had a CD player, I back then as I am now being a music lover knew CDs were way more functional and a way better listening experience than cassette tapes were. Jump to the 00s and here we saw the emergence of the iPod and mp3 players, a groundbreaking new way to listen to music, but not yet a threat to the compact disc, but definitely a precursor for what the future would hold for how people consume music.
This digital age for music didn't just creep out of nowhere, there were signs of its impact starting to take shape when back in 2000 when the fairly underground file sharing site know as Napster was sued by one of the biggest bands in the world, Metallica, for what they claimed was illegal use of unreleased material. That time period was the dawn of a new age where people were no longer solely listening and sharing music through CDs, like most things, this was the evolutionary start of music consumption shifting from physical means to digital. Just like in the 90s, CDs were very obviously going to become the sole means of how people consume music, and by 1999 it pretty much was.
Now we're here in 2014 (the future if we note how far things have come since the 90s), and the digital age is in full swing. Most people have phones that are capable of executing video conferences, and completing bank transactions in a snap, so of course the way people listen to music is on par with this technology. The biggest example of this shift in music consumption from physical to digital is the drastic change in how record companies release albums now, and the all but extinct record stores. People will always buy music, but CD sales have plummeted greatly in the last ten years and been replaced with iTunes and mp3 sales. This is because from younger to older, everyone has a device capable of downloading and playing digital files of music.
Like with Napster in 2000, here recently an event occurred in which people will look back on as the turning point for how music is consumed and obtained. On December 13, 2013, Beyonce released an iTunes download only album out of the blue, throwing the music world into a frenzy, this move was unprecedented and will most likely serve as a model for how artists release their work in the future. Not only will it become a new approach for how artists release their material, it signifies to music listeners that they better be able to download music if they want to hear the latest from their favorite artists.
CDs aren't completely out the door and on their way to the music museum with cassette tapes just yet, because indeed there are still a lot of people who drive cars that have CD players, but in ten years CD may definitely stand for Coaster Dish.