The future of CDs?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Meatball, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #1
    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 :(
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2

    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.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    #3
    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
     
  4. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    London Town
    #5
    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.
     
  6. EGT
    macrumors 68000

    EGT

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #7
    My grandkids will probably skimboard along the carpet on my cd's the same way I did with my grandfather's records.:p
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Location:
    Behind the lens
    #8
    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!

    i hope they were crappy albums! you cant beat vinyl for some applications.
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Warbrain

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #11
    Oh, nothing noteworthy, just some old Beatles and stuff like that.:eek:
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #12
    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
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #13
    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...
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    rockthecasbah

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Moorestown, NJ
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2004
    Location:
    Back in the motherland
    #20
    The only thing you're not considering is the price of a backup, which the CD offers but iTunes not.
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Tork

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    #22
    • 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
     
  23. macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #23
    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
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Tork

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
  25. Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Whakatane, New Zealand
    #25
    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.
     

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