Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Previewing the CD's End

Last response: in Home Audio
Share
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 11:11:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.misc,rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Music insiders say that the CD will soon be eclipsed by a medley of
downloadable formats...

Washington Post
February 13, 2005

10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End
By Sean Daly
Washington Post Staff Writer

Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need another copy of Pink
Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has
spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in
a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc,
Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio.

Enough is enough. The basement is full.

"We as consumers have been trained by the music industry to go out and
buy a new piece of plastic every few years," said the 51-year-old
Petersen, editorial director of Mix, a San Francisco-based magazine
that covers professional sound recording. "Why do we keep buying the
same things?"

It's a good question. Now get ready for the day when you open your
wallet and buy "Abbey Road" all over again.

With tonight's 47th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles drawing
attention to the ever-shifting world of the recording arts, Petersen
and many other music-biz insiders agree that, in the next decade or so,
the CD will very likely be surpassed as the album format of choice.

"The new format is no format," predicted Petersen, a 24-year industry
veteran who also owns a record label, a recording studio and a
music-publishing company. "What the consumer would buy is a data file,
and you could create whatever you need. If you want to make an MP3, you
make an MP3. If you want a DVD-Audio surround disc, you make that."

"We're moving beyond the media stage to the delivery stage," agreed
Mitch Gallagher, 41-year-old editor of EQ, a San Mateo, Calif.-based
magazine for music producers. At some point, he said, "you won't have
something to hold in your hand" until you transfer a data file to a
blank disc or tape.

"We can make our own plastic," Petersen said. "I've been thinking this
is what should happen for years, but it's actually the way we're going
anyway."

Think "Dark Side of the Moon" as an invisible cyberswirl of 1's and
0's. No CD case. No liner notes to flip through. No . . . nothing.

Your preferred music star could provide a myriad of songs, bonus cuts,
commentary, videos, album art, you name it. You, however, would have
ultimate power: which songs stay, which songs are deleted, which songs
go where. Surely, if Paul McCartney offered a new, computer-based
"Abbey Road" with alternate takes, making-of-the-disc footage and other
historical arcana, Beatles fans would want it. Or some of it, anyway.

Record executives devote a lot of thought to the future of the product
they've long manufactured. "Five years from now, absolutely there will
be CDs. Ten years from now, though, there will be fewer," compared with
other digital music options, said Larry Miller, the 47-year-old CEO of
the Or Music label, a Sony Corp. offshoot that gained notoriety this
year for its biggest act, Los Lonely Boys, the Tex-Mex trio nominated
for four Grammys. "As far as another [physical format], if it exists, I
haven't heard about it. . . . When I look three to five years in the
future, I believe that 20 to 25 percent of music purchased will be
downloaded."

Sitting at your laptop, pressing a few buttons and cueing up Bob Dylan
may not seem very rock-and-roll. Will air-guitaring give way to
air-mousing? And with each listener compiling his own version of an
album, will there even be "albums" anymore? Are we looking at a
mixed-up, mix-tape future?

Not anytime soon. The compact disc has had a great run -- developed by
Philips and Sony in 1979, introduced to the United States in the spring
of 1983, 1 billion in world sales by 1990. And it's still going strong.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, which keeps official tabs on
point-of-purchase sales of recorded music, 2004 was a comeback year for
the CD. Sales of CD albums, which make up 98 percent of all album
sales, were up 2.3 percent compared with 2003. (R&B hunk Usher, who is
up for eight awards at tonight's Grammys, was the top-selling artist in
2004, moving more than 9 million copies of his album "Confessions.")

These are hopeful numbers for an industry that saw sales plummet over
the four previous years.

"I think CDs are going to be around for a long time," said Petersen.
"The cassette was a silly format. It was never designed to be a
high-fidelity format. Plus like LPs, you had to flip the media over
halfway through. Music buyers are still replacing all their favorite
albums on CD."

"Remember," Miller said, "college kids and urban adults are buying
their music online, but everybody else is buying their records at Best
Buy and Wal-Mart."

However, there are other, contradictory statistics lurking out there:

During the second half of 2004, more than 91 million digital tracks --
songs downloaded from the Internet -- were sold, compared with 19.2
million in the same period in 2003. That's an increase of 376 percent.

More than 140 million digital tracks were purchased during 2004. Plus
in the last week of 2004, digital track sales hit a record 6.7 million.

Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has seen his company's iPod digital
music player, which starts at $250, sell more than 10 million units
since 2001 -- and 8.2 million in 2004 alone. The iPod, no bigger than a
pack of cigarettes, can hold up to 10,000 songs. Apple also recently
released the iPod Shuffle, a less pricey (starting at $99) and less
capacious version of the iPod; sales have been brisk. Pepsi is now
giving away songs on the iTunes Music Store -- the online site where
iPod users can plug in and download.

Record labels, which also profit when one of their artists is
downloaded from services such as iTunes, are excited about "how steep
[download numbers] continue to climb," Miller said.

In other words: CD album sales are bright, but the downloadable digital
future is blinding.

Apple also offers docking stations and various other gizmos that allow
users to hook up their digital music players to home entertainment
systems. That way, they can pump out their own carefully selected and
precisely ordered song lists for all to hear.

Consumers are craving convenience and want to customize their
music-listening experience, said John Simson, CEO of SoundExchange, the
first performance-rights organization designated by the U.S. government
to collect royalties on behalf of artists and labels.

"What we've been seeing is just going to continue to develop," Simson
said, adding that the popularity of downloadable music will force
musicians, labels and watchdog groups such as SoundExchange to make
sure all the right people are getting paid. "You're going to see record
companies become much more focused on licensing. There are already
subscription services now where you can listen to whatever you want
when you want it."

Indeed, Napster's To Go subscription service allows buyers to
essentially rent an unlimited amount of music for $15 per month. A
subscription-based service will be built into the latest version of
Microsoft Windows; for between $10 and $20, users will access songs for
a monthly fee but will be unable to burn them onto CDs. The only way
they'll be able to listen to them is via a digital music player such as
the iPod, or on a computer.

More than 30 percent of CD albums last year were bought online. So, for
record stores to keep up with the times -- Tower Records filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, citing competition from the
Internet and big-box stores -- Petersen said merchants have to
modernize their approach.

"Everyone said the Internet is going to kill physical CD sales, but
it's actually helping CD sales," Petersen said. "The Amazon experience
is easier than going to a store. . . . Why aren't record stores using
the Internet? If you keep things old-school, you are going to die."

In the "no format" future, Petersen added, record stores, in order to
better serve consumers who might not have all the technology at home,
should burn CDs for customers and offer high-resolution graphics for a
jewel case.

Liner notes and album art will be downloadable, too. Still, the days of
sprawling on the floor and gazing at an album cover are waning.

"As we move forward, if you've never had [album art], you don't miss
it," Gallagher said. "Ultimately, what's important is the content."

"Once you've loaded 10,000 songs onto your iPod, album art is pretty
much out the window anyway," Petersen said.

Those sighs you hear are all the people who remember getting lost in
the bizarre beauty of Elton John's "Captain Fantastic" cover design. Or
the "Sgt. Pepper" shot.

The good news for curmudgeonly souls unwilling to embrace a brave new
world is that there will probably always be something "physical" to
stuff in their purses, even if they have to make it themselves.

"I think there will always be a market for the physical product," said
Steve Blatter, 38-year-old vice president of music programming for
Sirius Satellite Radio, a company that intends to thrive on the
consumer's desire to customize musical options. "If you just want to
listen to music on your computer, think about what you have to go
through to listen to that Ashlee Simpson song.

"There is a simplicity to the CD player."

More about : previewing end

Anonymous
February 13, 2005 1:27:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1108267887.252044.180070@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com> MrPepper11@go.com writes:

> Music insiders say that the CD will soon be eclipsed by a medley of
> downloadable formats...

And I predict a disaster there.

> Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need another copy of Pink
> Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has
> spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in
> a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc,
> Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio.
>
> Enough is enough. The basement is full.

So now he's going to fill up his hard drives with a multitude of
formats of downloadable music? Geez, why doesn't he just clean out his
basement and sell or throw away some of that stuff that he knows he'll
never listen to any more. Probably for the same reason I have a room
full of gear I know I know I'll never use again. Becuse it's there.

> It's a good question. Now get ready for the day when you open your
> wallet and buy "Abbey Road" all over again.

Why? What's wrong with the origianl vinyl copy he bought 35 years ago?
George knows how to use a turntable, and probalby even has one. And he
can look at the neat picture on the front of the jacket while he's
listening to the music.

> With tonight's 47th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles drawing
> attention to the ever-shifting world of the recording arts, Petersen
> and many other music-biz insiders agree that, in the next decade or so,
> the CD will very likely be surpassed as the album format of choice.

Well, sheesh! Anyone can make a prediction like that and be correct.
50 years ago when I first saw a wire recorder, I predicted that it
would be eclipsed by another medium in the next decade or so, and I
was right.

> "We can make our own plastic," Petersen said. "I've been thinking this
> is what should happen for years, but it's actually the way we're going
> anyway."

The problem is that we HAVE to. And then we have something else to put
in the basement. Or we can just leave files on the hard drive and
think about how to salvage the music (or not) when it's time to
replace the computer. Most of us replace computers more frequently
than we replace our living room music listening gear.

> Think "Dark Side of the Moon" as an invisible cyberswirl of 1's and
> 0's. No CD case. No liner notes to flip through. No . . . nothing.

How sad.

> During the second half of 2004, more than 91 million digital tracks --
> songs downloaded from the Internet -- were sold, compared with 19.2
> million in the same period in 2003. That's an increase of 376 percent.
>
> More than 140 million digital tracks were purchased during 2004. Plus
> in the last week of 2004, digital track sales hit a record 6.7 million.

That's just the first or second year. Let's see what happens in ten or
twenty years.

> Consumers are craving convenience and want to customize their
> music-listening experience, said John Simson, CEO of SoundExchange

I can understand customizing their music-listening experience, but
that's mighty damn inconvenient if you ask me. I'd rather just put on
a CD and tune in to the songs I like and tune out to the ones I don't.
My mind works like that. And I don't want to spend the time editing a
CD on my own media just to avoid a few songs (that I've already paid
for).

The key is that people think that they're not paying for music that
they don't want to listen to. But by the time you add up the cost of
downloading half the songs on a new album, the cost of your Internet
access, the cost of your computer and maintaining and upgrading it,
maybe buying a new car with an MP3 player installed, and the value of
your time involved, you're not saving any money, in fact you're
probably wasting it. But as long as people think this is what they
want, the proceess will remain popular.

> "I think there will always be a market for the physical product," said
> Steve Blatter, 38-year-old vice president of music programming for
> Sirius Satellite Radio, a company that intends to thrive on the
> consumer's desire to customize musical options. "If you just want to
> listen to music on your computer, think about what you have to go
> through to listen to that Ashlee Simpson song.
>
> "There is a simplicity to the CD player."

Yup, and to the radio, too. Music is to be enjoyed by the listener,
not controlled.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 1:27:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" wrote ...
> MrPepper11@go.com writes:
>> Think "Dark Side of the Moon" as an invisible cyberswirl of 1's and
>> 0's. No CD case. No liner notes to flip through. No . . . nothing.
>
> How sad.

Almost like coming back around to the pre-TV days of radio drama
where we made up much more reaslistic images in our minds than
they ever produced on the small (or big, for that matter) screen. :-)
Related resources
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 4:48:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.misc,rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hello all,

IMHO there will always be people who like buying there music in a
physical format, and don't want to have to create it themselves.
Somehow, a purchased copy seems more 'real' and permanent than a burned
one.

IF we accept that the CD format is of good enough quality for most, (I
realize that there are audiophiles that still don't like the CD.) then I
personally feel that eventually we will end up with a solid state
format. Something about the size of a credit card that goes into a
reader and is a ROM of some sort. That would be big enough to print the
contents and a small photo on.

Currently you can by a 512 MB memory card (a CD holds as much as 640MB)
for a digital camera for around $40, depending on format. When this
drops to $1 or $2, then it becomes a viable product to sell music on.
The reason I believe that we will have a sold state format is that there
will be no lens to get dirty, no spindle motor to wear out, and no
vibration induced skipping issues to worry about. If the electrical
connections are well designed, then the cards should last for decades.
Players (and recorders) could be around the size of a cigarette pack.
You'll be able to plug them into a slot on your car stereo, or computer.

Another bonus of a credit card size memory module is that they will fit
in a regular envelope for mailing, and could easily be erasable, so they
will probably replace burned CD's on your computer as well.

Time frame? Depends how cheap the memory hardware gets. The basic
technology is in your digital camera now.

Regards,
Tim Schwartz
Bristol Electronics


MrPepper11 wrote:
>
> Music insiders say that the CD will soon be eclipsed by a medley of
> downloadable formats...
>
> Washington Post
> February 13, 2005
>
> 10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End
> By Sean Daly
> Washington Post Staff Writer
>
> Classic-rock fan George Petersen doesn't need another copy of Pink
> Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" or Cream's "Disraeli Gears." He has
> spent the past four decades buying and re-buying his favorite music in
> a succession of new formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc,
> Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio.
>
> Enough is enough. The basement is full.
>
> "We as consumers have been trained by the music industry to go out and
> buy a new piece of plastic every few years," said the 51-year-old
> Petersen, editorial director of Mix, a San Francisco-based magazine
> that covers professional sound recording. "Why do we keep buying the
> same things?"
>
> It's a good question. Now get ready for the day when you open your
> wallet and buy "Abbey Road" all over again.


***MAJOR 'SNIP' please see original posting***
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 11:13:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1108300234k@trad...

> The key is that people think that they're not paying for music that
> they don't want to listen to.

The real scary thing there is that if they don't *know* about the music,
they won't download it. So peopes' listening experience will consist of hit
tracks only. The rest (which may be filler, or may be meaning or great
stuff) won't ever have the opportunity be heard by most....


geoff
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 11:13:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

My understanding is that the decline in CD sales -- and the resulting drop in
revenue -- is due principally to the record companies releasing fewer titles.
February 14, 2005 11:13:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I heard a report the other day saying CD sales are way up.




William Sommerwerck <williams@nwlink.com> wrote in message
news:110vcifguvhhcb9@corp.supernews.com...
> My understanding is that the decline in CD sales -- and the resulting drop
in
> revenue -- is due principally to the record companies releasing fewer
titles.
>
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 11:13:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 01:02:30 GMT, "Troy" <alternate-root@shaw.ca>
wrote:

>I heard a report the other day saying CD sales are way up.

"It's tbe economy, stupid!"

>
>
>
>
>William Sommerwerck <williams@nwlink.com> wrote in message
>news:110vcifguvhhcb9@corp.supernews.com...
>> My understanding is that the decline in CD sales -- and the resulting drop
>in
>> revenue -- is due principally to the record companies releasing fewer
>titles.
>>
>

-----
http://mindspring.com/~benbradley
!