CDs Are Phasing Out

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Published March 21, 2018
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The Montclarion
Album covers are one of the most important components of an album, but with CDs soon disappearing, will they matter anymore? Cristian Inga | The Montclarion

Never in a million years would I have thought that CDs would disappear before books. They both adapted to our times and went digital, but somehow books have managed to sell digitally and physically whereas music is doing well digitally but not physically. So, what happened and what does this mean?

A month ago, Best Buy announced it was going to stop selling CDs at its stores beginning July 1. The move came after CD sales were down 18.5 percent last year in the U.S. according to Billboard. Target is also said to be going in the same direction and has suggested they will pay labels for CDs only when customers buy them.

It is clear why CDs have fallen out of favor: they are just not worth it. In modern day, we have all the music we could possibly want on digital music streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Tidal.

We get all the songs we want for a low monthly cost and it is even cheaper if you are a college student, such as $4.99 for Spotify Premium with Hulu added for free.

Most of these streaming services offer free versions that are ad-sponsored but still serve as a viable option for those who do not want to spend money on their music. Just think about it, a newly released album like Justin Timberlake’s “Man of The Woods” costs $12.99. For that price, I can get two months of Spotify premium and listen to that album plus many more.

However, many people still probably got the same, “Oh no, CDs are going extinct. Wait…why do I care?” reaction as I did upon hearing Best Buy’s announcement. I was shocked at first, but then I thought to myself, “I don’t even buy CDs, so why should I care?” It took me a minute to realize that no more CDs means no more album signings.

Album signings are one of the main reasons people buy albums nowadays. The exceptions are die-hard fans striving to get their favorite artists’ albums to the top of the charts. For fans, an album signing is a once-in-a-lifetime event. They get to meet their favorite artist and get their albums signed for less than the cost of a meet and greet, which can get expensive depending on the artist.

Eliminating CDs would put an end to album signings and hurt the development and growth of up-and-coming artists. The purpose of album signings are to sell tons of albums and promote upcoming tours. Many fans also decide to buy concert tickets after attending album signings.

It is true that many of music’s biggest stars no longer do album signings because of the thousands of fans that would line up, but many up-and-coming artists depend on album signings to start their fan base – even Beyoncé had album signings at one point in her career and look at her now. She is a globally renowned music star.

Awkwardly, as the time of CDs seems to be coming to an end, vinyl record sales are on the rise having 14.32 million sold, up 9 percent in 2017 according to Nielsen’s 2017 U.S. Music Year-End Report.

Why awkward? Vinyl records are quite expensive compared to the price of CDs. Sam Smith’s “The Thrill of It All” CD costs $12.99, while a vinyl of the same album costs $21.98. Collecting vinyls has become somewhat of a trend.

Who knows? Maybe vinyl record signings will replace CD album signings.

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