Why you should still care about CDs
Date: 18th September 2023 Posted in: Company News and Events
With music streaming dominating the industry and vinyl making a well-reported comeback in recent years, popular belief is that the Compact Disc is a dying format. However, many people are surprised to learn that CDs remain a popular music format. In fact, as of 2022 they still remain by far the UK’s most popular physical music format, selling over 11.6 million units.
In this article, we’ll explain some of the main reasons why you should still care about your CD collection in the age of streaming.
With streaming, users are essentially ‘renting’ access to songs from the provider for a monthly fee, who in turn have agreements with record labels. This poses many issues for consumers.
For one, users lose access to their music library should they wish to cancel their subscription. This is an important issue given many of the major platforms have increased subscription prices within the past year.
Secondly, disputes between streaming services and labels/artists are common, meaning your favourite music may disappear at any moment should an issue arise. In recent years, artists including Taylor Swift, Prince, and Neil Young have restricted their work on major platforms to make statements.
When you purchase a CD, you physically own the music and have full control over when you listen to your favourite songs. Your music won’t disappear from your library unless you decide to part with it.
Many music fans are returning to classic formats for more tangible aspects.
Whilst music streaming definitely offers convenience, it comes at the expense of the experience music lovers have with their favourite artists and songs.
Owning your favourite albums on CD offers an enhanced experience lost with digital music. CDs are complete with album art, liner notes, and lyrics - creating a more immersive listening experience and allowing fans to better appreciate their favourite music.
Arguably the most important reason you should review your collection are for valuable copies. Like vinyl, rare, special, and limited-edition releases have appreciated in value over time, especially if kept in a good condition. Dozens of second-hand CDs have sold on Discogs for over US$1,000, with a rare Korean release selling in 2022 for a staggering US$3,000 (£2,400).
The royalty system is the primary issue artists have with streaming platforms. It’s well-reported that the major platforms pay an average of less than a penny per track streamed. This means that order to earn a living wage from streaming, artists would require hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of streams every month - only a small number of artists achieve these figures.
In contrast, musicians are far better compensated when you buy their CDs. Reports suggest that artists typically earn around 10-20% in royalties for each unit sold, or around £1-£2 depending on the price and rate.
Maintenance and Durability
Whilst many people enjoy the nostalgic experience of older music formats such as vinyl or cassette, these are more easily prone to damage and deterioration if they are not properly stored, maintained, or played.
Compared to other physical music formats, CDs tend to be lower maintenance, more durable, and longer lasting as a result. If you’re looking for a more convenient physical music format, CDs are definitely the perfect choice.
When considering the merits of CDs over vinyl, another important advantage is the cost.
Vinyl records often cost significantly more than their CD equivalent, especially with double albums and limited-run releases. This is compounded by the surge in vinyl demand, which has caused year-long production backlogs for some manufacturers.
In comparison, CDs can be produced relatively quickly and cheaply compared to vinyl, largely due to materials and manufacturing costs.
Finally, one of the main advantages of the CD format is the sound quality. Some of the leading music streaming services compress audio files to save storage and bandwidth.
Similarly, many consumers also download/stream music at a lower quality to preserve data and device storage.
CDs offer an uncompressed, high-quality audio solution without concern for internet or device storage limitations. With this, CDs remain a popular format of audiophiles.
Regardless of whether you’re playing CDs or streaming, the quality of your hi-fi equipment plays an important role in the overall experience of the music. Whatever format you might wish to explore, or have a stronger allegiance toward, we have something that just might fit the bill.
The Attessa range, including the CD Transport and the multi-award-winning Streaming Amplifier, integrate perfectly for a versatile audiophile system supporting both streaming and CDs. Both work seamlessly with the bespoke MaestroUnite app for hassle-free set-up, control, and firmware updates to future-proof your hi-fi.