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Meatball
Jan 3, 2007, 05:47 AM
Has anyone ever thought of the future of CDs? As a digital music store a CD shop closes :( Recently in the UK a CD chain called CD Warehouse closed down due to poor business. I could never buy music online for 3 reasons:
1) DRM. I know it's always bought up but it's a HUGE problem for me. I can't stand the thought of my files been locked away from me! I can't play the audio in the car, living room or any computer without suitable software. I like "owning" my music and not having the music industry telling me how to listen to my music. What I hate even more about DRM is there are so many different formats and so many different types of DRM all of which aren't compatible with each other, what a mess!
2) Quality. All of my iTunes library is ripped from CDs at 320Kbit iTunes. Now I must admit with some songs I really can't tell the difference between the 128Kbit version and the 320Kbit version but with heavy metal and other types everything just sounds muddy. I don't mind using 320Kbit since I have plenty of Hard drive and iPod space (even thought the battery runs down quicker which isn't a problem for me) It's not nice thinking I'm paying 79p for a (sometimes) low quality audio file.
3) You have no real physical backup of your music. If you burn the DRMed tracks as an audio cd the compressed file has been compressed, uncompressed and is then being re-compressed when ripping losing so much quality. However if you burn as a data disc it's very unlikely a car cd player, dvd player or any general music player will be able to read and decrypt the files.
I really don't want the CD format to die as it will almost likely be replaced with some kind of compressed, DRMed format (I've heard they're thinking of switching to USB flash drives :confused: ) There are so many advantages to using CDs its mad:
1) You can play the CD whenever, wherever and as much as you want. Most optical media devices happily play redbook CDs.
2) You have a high quality physical backup of your music.
3) You can rip music from them in whatever format at any quality you wont giving you flexibility. If you choose to switch from an Ipod to say a Sandisk player you can re-rip your files to a compatible format. If you have ITS bought music you're screwed.
4) You have album art to look through. I always look through booklets when I buy a CD.
5) You can sometimes buy CDs at bargain prices (I bought red hot chilli peppers CD new for £3.87 on sale!)
I think in the near future (2 years or so?) CDs will be obsolete and online stores will control 98% of the music trade. Although I don't want to download from stores I guess in the future we're going to have to :(



Blue Velvet
Jan 3, 2007, 05:59 AM
I think in the near future (2 years or so?) CDs will be obsolete and online stores will control 98% of the music trade.


Maybe 5 or 10 years. Downloads currently only account for 10% of the singles market in the UK. As long as optical drives remain in use, there will be devices to play your CDs.

What I think we are beginning to see is a simplification of some of the more outlandish design and packaging, a shifting of promotional efforts from print to web-based efforts, whether 'viral' or not... and the decline of traditional brick and mortar shops; especially those with high mark-ups and a limited range... I buy all my CDs online, many from eBay retailers or Amazon marketplace sellers.

I'm with you on the quality and DRM argument; it's dispiriting to see 128AAC as the standard on the iTMS and to my mind, represents a backwards step towards audio mediocrity. Thought we'd got rid of cassette-tape quality years ago... but the problem is, is that most people say that they don't care or can't hear the difference, resulting in a levelling-down of standards.

bozigle
Jan 3, 2007, 06:24 AM
Well i have to admit i have the same feelings... partly.

I will not go for download music for the folowing reasons:
- low quality. when do we get the choice to have mp3 or lossless? this will be the same consideration with movie and tv show... i'm about to invest in HD i don't want to have sub dvd quality.... low quality is fine in my iPod/earphone... not on my HiFi
- No database keeping my purchases... if my computer crash i have to buy everything again , whereas i can reripped all my CD/DVD... Apple and other providers should be forced to keep a database of their customers and their purchase... they could also provide new version/director's cut/extended version... for a couple of /$//Yens ... whatever instead of having to buy again the whole thing
- DRM is not bothering me so far and no album been prevented to be rip because of that (other reasons though... still working on it http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=265411 )
I do believe that sharing the music is not fair and that musicians (actors, composers, directors, producers ..) deserve to make a living and therefore to be paid... the current system does suckss though

Finaly
As the physical support goes... well art is now available for download too (not much readable but there anyway) and i think getting rid of the material is also a good way to avoid plastic waste and polution... top would be Apple being a bit more green on their iPod production too (http://www.greenpeace.org/apple/about.html)
as for being able to play it every where... i carry my iPod everywhere and iTrip or wires always allowed me to play my music wherever i want . no problemo.

bozigle

Cromulent
Jan 3, 2007, 06:42 AM
I only buy CDs. All my music is ripped in Apple Lossless format and I much prefer that method to downloading random songs from iTunes. Call me old fashioned but there is just something so much more satisfying about owning a CD compared to owning a bunch of random MP3 files. Plus the quality concern is still there, 128k MP3's are unacceptable. They should provide all the tracks in lossless format at least as a second option.

I don't mind buying one or two songs from the iTunes store, but 99% of my music purchases will still be CDs.

FleurDuMal
Jan 3, 2007, 07:01 AM
Well, MP3 is a God-send for people like me who have very little living space (read: no living space) - my whole CD collection is 200 miles away from me at my parents house. But I always still insist on buying the CD. I've never bought more than a single off ITMS. The 128kbs is too poor imo - all my music is encoded in 192kbs as I can barely tell the difference above that, but that's probably because I only have a pair of JBL Creature II. When I have the money for a proper entertainment system with real hi-fi speakers and a larger room (as well as the hard drive space), I will be very thankful that I bought CD's as I will no doubt re-encode all my music into Apple Lossless format.

DRM doesn't really bother me as I can't see myself using anything but Apple computers and music players in the future, and I always buy my music (eventually). I like CD's mainly because I like to know that somewhere I have the highest quality recording, even if I'm not currently using it.

EGT
Jan 3, 2007, 09:22 AM
It's not the DRM that puts me off, it's just the 128AAC. If iTunes had higher quality (lossless?) downloads that you could burn to CD/DVD for storage and then convert the files to something more suitable for iPod usage, I'd buy more iTunes music. That why, you have a high quality backup .. can be used for high quality sound system in the future etc.

I sort of went on a splurge when I initially got into iTunes but I only use it for browsing and previewing music and then buying CDs online or from local music shops.

iTunes is great like, but quality is important.

srf4real
Jan 3, 2007, 09:24 AM
My grandkids will probably skimboard along the carpet on my cd's the same way I did with my grandfather's records.:p

Sdashiki
Jan 3, 2007, 09:26 AM
I always thought plunking down $10 for an album, when for approx $4 more you got lossless...plus the physical album which in some cases is a work of art in itself.

Sure, its a ton of bandwith to have an iTunes store with all FLAC, but for money, you truly arent getting what you pay for, IMO.

Anything less than the original, is just a crappy copy. :D

But, hell, I cant ignore the iTunes music store revenue figures!

My grandkids will probably skimboard along the carpet on my cd's the same way I did with my grandfather's records.:p

i hope they were crappy albums! you cant beat vinyl for some applications.

Warbrain
Jan 3, 2007, 09:32 AM
I don't think that digital sales of music will ever outpace that of a physical format. People will always want something tangible when they purchase something and for music it's a CD. While people may begin to shy away from it more over the years, it's still going to remain a viable component of the criminal music industry.

failsafe1
Jan 3, 2007, 10:06 AM
I like not having any physical form of the music I buy. I like not having junk relating from the physical versions. I come across 8 tracks at my parents home from time to time and laugh. I realize the quality is less for iTunes but I don't hear the difference so I don't mind that part of the deal. So for me the less plastic and paper wasted is a nice trade for less quality.

srf4real
Jan 3, 2007, 10:09 AM
i hope they were crappy albums! you cant beat vinyl for some applications.

Oh, nothing noteworthy, just some old Beatles and stuff like that.:eek:

failsafe1
Jan 3, 2007, 10:13 AM
Oh, nothing noteworthy, just some old Beatles and stuff like that.:eek:

That reminds me of the audiophile argument that the death of vinyl was a bad thing when CD's showed up. Of course vinyl is still around and made something of a comeback. But it is interesting that each new "improvement" is met with the usual cries of the former system is better because of ... Onto the subject of the Beatles remember they started out as the original(?) boy band then got better.:D

Killyp
Jan 3, 2007, 10:17 AM
Vinyl will always have it's place, among people who really want to sit down and hear an album sound absolutely incredible through an analog system.

CD has it's place for the same application, but only with fully digital systems. CD also applies to every day people. It's easy, relatively cheap, and can be ripped for iPods etc...

MP3 however, only applies really to people who don't care about sound quality and just want the music straight away.

Music CDs will always be here in one form or another, and will always have their place...

Diatribe
Jan 3, 2007, 10:17 AM
There are four reasons for people buying CDs:

- High quality (remedy: offer Lossless)
- DRM-free (remedy: kill DRM)
- Backup (remedy: let people re-download purchased content)
- Booklet (provide lyrics and booklet with all downloads)


If those are answered people will stop buying CDs for the convenience of not having to run to a store.

Eraserhead
Jan 3, 2007, 11:03 AM
Also remember a lot of people buy CD's from Amazon and other online stores as it's cheaper and they have a better collection of rare music.

failsafe1
Jan 3, 2007, 11:06 AM
There are four reasons for people buying CDs:

- High quality (remedy: offer Lossless)
- DRM-free (remedy: kill DRM)
- Backup (remedy: let people re-download purchased content)
- Booklet (provide lyrics and booklet with all downloads)


If those are answered people will stop buying CDs for the convenience of not having to run to a store.

Those are good points. Could you do them at the current price of .99? I would enjoy getting some of the old album inserts that came with stuff I listened to in the 70's. The folks from that era remember the fold out posters and large book inserts full of photos and liner notes. I amhappy not to generate that much paper waste but a PDF would be nice to browse through.

Cromulent
Jan 3, 2007, 11:56 AM
Download content is never going to be as good as a physical product. I love having the CD in my hand with the printed booklet done properly, not some PDF file I download off the net and printed on the cheap. I used to download music from Limewire, I am now in the process of purchasing all the CDs that I downloaded as I am fed up with shoddy MP3s.

Diatribe
Jan 3, 2007, 01:15 PM
Those are good points. Could you do them at the current price of .99? I would enjoy getting some of the old album inserts that came with stuff I listened to in the 70's. The folks from that era remember the fold out posters and large book inserts full of photos and liner notes. I amhappy not to generate that much paper waste but a PDF would be nice to browse through.

I don't see why the last 3 wouldn't be. You already have them with similarly priced CDs. Now the first one depends on Apple's bandwidth, so Apple's cut might not be enough for the increase.

rockthecasbah
Jan 3, 2007, 04:34 PM
When it is a popular artist or whatever i will buy the physical album, but many times i have found that stores that sell physical albums don't always have the band i am looking for because it's on a little known indie label or whatever whereas iTunes will. I have also found that places that actually did have the album were twice as expensive than on iTunes, so in some cases like that i will buy iTunes. Here are my advantages:

1. Generally cheaper to buy iTMS
2. Constant availability (won't sell out)
3. Instant downloads at great speeds
4. ability to buy single songs from artists that you only enjoy a few songs

I'm no audiophile, in fact i rip my cds at 128mp3 anyway (very small hard drive, etc) and find almost no difference in either headphones, my and other home stereos, or in the car. Since the quality is good for me, the iTMS is great to me.

As for the DRM comments about owning your music, i agree that it can be a hassle, on the whole i think Apple's DRM is some of the fairest, with the ionly exception of eMusic.

Diatribe
Jan 3, 2007, 04:47 PM
When it is a popular artist or whatever i will buy the physical album, but many times i have found that stores that sell physical albums don't always have the band i am looking for because it's on a little known indie label or whatever whereas iTunes will. I have also found that places that actually did have the album were twice as expensive than on iTunes, so in some cases like that i will buy iTunes. Here are my advantages:

1. Generally cheaper to buy iTMS
2. Constant availability (won't sell out)
3. Instant downloads at great speeds
4. ability to buy single songs from artists that you only enjoy a few songs

I'm no audiophile, in fact i rip my cds at 128mp3 anyway (very small hard drive, etc) and find almost no difference in either headphones, my and other home stereos, or in the car. Since the quality is good for me, the iTMS is great to me.

As for the DRM comments about owning your music, i agree that it can be a hassle, on the whole i think Apple's DRM is some of the fairest, with the ionly exception of eMusic.

The only thing you're not considering is the price of a backup, which the CD offers but iTunes not.

combatcolin
Jan 3, 2007, 05:39 PM
Every year some analyst proclaims that this year Apple will collapse or fall into the sea or something like that.

Same with CD's

Far too common and ubiquitous to fail for a long time yet.

Tork
Jan 3, 2007, 05:48 PM
Most people are happy with 128 kbps encoding for only a buck a song
Most people are happy with a file size that's a fraction of lossless'
iTunes' songs are encoded in aac which is a (slightly) better format than mp3
There is no protected Apple lossless format; Apple won't offer lossless over iTunes -- a good argument could be made for 192 kbps protected aac, however
Many are tired of albums which come out with only a few good songs on them
Many also never read the CD's enclosed booklet
It's easy to back-up music; 1 CD can back up about 150 songs and a DVD can back up over 1000

srf4real
Jan 3, 2007, 05:50 PM
I can't remember the last time I bought a cd- maybe when Lil' Jon came out with Crunk Juice... that's like three years ago, isn't it? I've been in iTMS within the last month buying music. I do have a pile of 100 blank cd's sitting right here next to me for ripping my own, so maybe it's not the cd that will go away but the retail music store!:p

Tork
Jan 3, 2007, 05:52 PM
Also, Apple DOES let you redownload lost music: http://www.lifehacker.com/software/itunes/redownload-your-lost-itunes-music-176323.php

Nermal
Jan 3, 2007, 05:53 PM
While I thought iTunes was great when I first used it, I'm now buying more CDs than I used to. If a song doesn't sound good enough at 128 kb/s, I can re-encode it at a higher rate. If I want to transfer to a Zune, I can. If I want to read the book and look at the photos, I can do that too.

psychofreak
Jan 3, 2007, 05:56 PM
I buy CDs. EXCEPT: I buy B sides from the iTMS, then strip the DRM with FairGame. I refuse to buy albums and singles for B sides.

Loge
Jan 3, 2007, 06:11 PM
The only thing you're not considering is the price of a backup, which the CD offers but iTunes not.

Since when did CDs come with a backup?

combatcolin
Jan 3, 2007, 06:17 PM
Since when did CDs come with a backup?

You back up when you import into iTunes.

:p

FleurDuMal
Jan 3, 2007, 06:32 PM
Whatever happened to the SuperCD? Did it become yet another failed Sony format?

Edit: I meant Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD), obviously...

Diatribe
Jan 3, 2007, 07:06 PM
You back up when you import into iTunes.

:p

Exactly :p

Keebler
Jan 3, 2007, 08:12 PM
i often wonder about the future of CDs. i think it's great artists are adding bonus DVDs and material for value-add....BUT, i think if some of them spent more time making quality music, then people would buy more CDs.

i don't buy many CDs anymore b/c i've been screwed too many times in buying a CD with 3...MABYE 4 good songs and then the rest suck. that is really why i sometimes buy from itunes instead of a CD.

that said, I still buy CDs when it's a favourite artist ie. norah jones and mellencamp this month. i'll be at futureshop 1st thing in the morning for those.

cheers,
keebler

bozigle
Jan 4, 2007, 02:16 AM
Whatever happened to the SuperCD? Did it become yet another failed Sony format?

Edit: I meant Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD), obviously...

The perfect example of how to steal more money from the consumer who believe in quality.

Well , audiophiles will always argue that the vinil still have better sound than cds... that is because of the analogic vs digital. digital need sampling and if it is not maximum then you get a sound that can be differenciated by the experience listener

SACD and DVD-Audio provide much better sampling and allows the mixing of 5.1
There is no doubt that with that the vinil argument doesn't stand any more and there is no scratch (good/bad according to the person)
So what is wrong with those? well what is wrong is that you can do the same with an already existing format! DVD (and soon coming BD and HD-DVD)
What was the point in creating two new competing formats that can't be play on normal player whereas DVD are widely available??
I have couple of SACD and i can't tell the advantage of it, compare to the Beatles-Love DVD. (called audio-dvd).
There is nothing else but the title of the song on the screen so all the disk can be used for the music... DTS and DD
I do appreciate good quality but i will be glad when SACD and DVD-A will be discontinued and album will be release in a widely supported format with the same sampling as SACD/DVD-A be it DVD, DB, HD-DVD

bozigle

Nermal
Jan 4, 2007, 02:24 AM
What was the point in creating two new competing formats that can't be play on normal player whereas DVD are widely available??

DVD-Audio will play on a regular DVD player and will be at "DVD quality" (I believe it plays at the highest quality supported by the DVD spec). When using a DVD-A compatible player, you get 96 kHz 24-bit sound.

Loge
Jan 4, 2007, 02:30 AM
You back up when you import into iTunes.

:p

Assuming you rip everything you have - in other words you have to make the backup yourself. Lost download files from iTMS can be downloaded again (once, apparently).

Even so, I still prefer CDs, mainly for flexibility over bitrate, and DRM which involves some admin I'd rather not do. :p

bozigle
Jan 4, 2007, 02:44 AM
DVD-Audio will play on a regular DVD player and will be at "DVD quality" (I believe it plays at the highest quality supported by the DVD spec). When using a DVD-A compatible player, you get 96 kHz 24-bit sound.

my bad...
DVD-Audio were once incompatible with computer and i assumed that you still needed a dedicated player same as for SACD.

according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Video 96kHz 24-bit is supported format for DVD-Video... so a compatible player for DVD-A could have been , on the paper... a normal dvd player...

bozigle

iMeowbot
Jan 4, 2007, 03:09 AM
- low quality. when do we get the choice to have mp3 or lossless?
We won't, at least not until DRM falls out of fashion with content owners. There is no quality loss if you capture and reencode a lossless file or stream, rendering the the DRM useless (the ineffectiveness of CD copy protection on Macs is a good demonstration of this).

Some companies are already toying with the idea of giving up on DRM, so what's available for download could change in the future.

Killyp
Jan 4, 2007, 06:49 AM
I don't think the current DRM system is going to be here for long. People are realising that it's too easy to get around, but gets in the way too often.

CDs are the way forwards IMO. You can get extra data on the disk, nobody ever fills the entire CD up, there's always free space...

emotion
Jan 4, 2007, 07:01 AM
I don't think that digital sales of music will ever outpace that of a physical format. People will always want something tangible when they purchase something and for music it's a CD.

I'm betting that you're over 25.

Younger music buyers have no problem with no physical media. Look at the success of ring-tones. It's a huge industry.

I buy 99% of music on vinyl (due to the type of music I buy) but when I do buy digital I like full-fat wavs (or lossless) and no DRM. This is available in a few places, just not iTunes.

CDs are a dying format now, given that digital downloads are possible. It's impossible to ignore that.

xUKHCx
Jan 4, 2007, 07:05 AM
I don't do digital downloads because of the quality, drm, lack of music avaliable and most importantly because i love really well made CDs.

I am talking about the box, the cd front and the inlay, when done well a CD is easily a work of art. Not many people bother though which is a shame.

emotion
Jan 4, 2007, 07:06 AM
I don't think the current DRM system is going to be here for long. People are realising that it's too easy to get around, but gets in the way too often.

I think Apple's DRM approach is pretty good. They have big pressure from the record industry to have that DRM but implement it in a way thats not too restrictive.

I mean, look at the Zune fiasco for how bad you can screw up DRM.

There is no way in the world that iTunes would ever go DRM free. Especially now the movie industry is getting involved. They have hardware DRM stuff like HDCP (coming to an apple LCD display near you soon!). This is where it will get interesting.

psychofreak
Jan 4, 2007, 07:34 AM
I think Apple's DRM approach is pretty good. They have big pressure from the record industry to have that DRM but implement it in a way thats not too restrictive.

I mean, look at the Zune fiasco for how bad you can screw up DRM.

There is no way in the world that iTunes would ever go DRM free. Especially now the movie industry is getting involved. They have hardware DRM stuff like HDCP (coming to an apple LCD display near you soon!). This is where it will get interesting.

eMusic is doing pretty good sans DRM, and yahoo! etc have given it a try.

emotion
Jan 4, 2007, 07:46 AM
eMusic is doing pretty good sans DRM, and yahoo! etc have given it a try.

Oh aye I know that. It's just that they are dwarfed by iTunes who are in turn dwarfed by the power of the music industry. Whilst Apple does have some power over that industry they'll in no way accept a DRM free situation. Then as even more pressure they have the power of the movie industry stepping up with even more DRM demands.

The indicator of where the world is going with DRM is how DRM-laden Vista will be when it eventually lands. Now, whether Apple increase the intrusiveness of their DRM will be the interesting thing to watch not whether they remove it.

millar876
Jan 4, 2007, 11:57 AM
iTunes is good for the odd song ( free music on a tuesday) however like the op i like to have a real audio CD from my favourite bands so i can rip at a better quality than iTMS. i rarely go below 160kbps and i only have about 10 albums on lossless.

i burn data DVD's and have an external HD to back up my library, but i dont worry about the data CD's not playing in things because i jusp plug in my iPod via cassette adapter, iTrip or line out to my car stereo and TV/surround system.

KEEP REAL CDS

barnacle
Jan 4, 2007, 04:59 PM
sigh,,i have been around long enough to say i lived with vynal, 8 track tape, cassetts, reel to reel tape and cd's. with the passing of each, it ment something even better to come. hell, i can't wait to see what's next!

MartyMoe
Jan 4, 2007, 05:28 PM
sigh,,i have been around long enough to say i lived with vynal, 8 track tape, cassetts, reel to reel tape and cd's. with the passing of each, it ment something even better to come. hell, i can't wait to see what's next!

That micro-thing-disk that Tommy Lee Jones was holding up in "Men In Black." Something like, "Now I'm going to have to buy the white album again...."

I still have a record or two somewhere, and just got rid of the reel-to-reel.

Rantipole
Jan 10, 2007, 09:16 AM
There are some excellent observations and suggestions in this thread. Too bad no one from ITMS will ever read them. :( :rolleyes:

but when I do buy digital I like full-fat wavs (or lossless) and no DRM. This is available in a few places, just not iTunes.
Where is this?

Cloudgazer
Jan 10, 2007, 09:29 AM
I don't do digital downloads because of the quality, drm, lack of music avaliable and most importantly because i love really well made CDs.

I am talking about the box, the cd front and the inlay, when done well a CD is easily a work of art. Not many people bother though which is a shame.

Yes, thats why I love vinyl and CDs as well.
But.... thats all just fluff isn't it?

The music is whats important at the end of the day.
Not the packaging.
Not the physical format.

While artwork and nice inlays are a bonus, they really shouldn't affect your enjoyment of the music.

I used to love and take great pride in my physical music collection, but since going digital, they have lost some significance.

emotion
Jan 10, 2007, 09:36 AM
Where is this?

Beatport. Juno download, off the top of my head.

A few others have 320Kbps options too which is mostly acceptable to me.