Major Record Labels to Possibly Abandon CD Format by End of 2012

If you’re a Staples student, chances are you bought your last single, album, soundtrack, EP or remix on iTunes. The idea of getting your music from a CD probably hasn’t even dawned on you for the last four or five years, except maybe when Amazon shipped a few copies of Lady Gaga’s latest album a few days earlier than its expected release date in May.

Record labels may have finally realized this, and the CD may be going the way of cassettes and eight-track tapes by the end of next year.

According to an article published last week by Sideline Music Magazine, limited edition CDs will be the only CD formats that will remain after the compact disc becomes obsolete.

Some people are hesitant to believe this claim, though; according to surprising data from the NPD Group, CD purchases made up 65 percent of all music sold in the first half of 2009, while paid digital downloads came in at 35 percent.

However, some Staples students seem to embrace the idea of a CD-less music industry. Harry Epstein ’14, for example, thinks that because eliminating the CD would force consumers to purchase their music over the Internet, everyone would consequently become more connected with each other through technology.

Conversely, Jacqueline Devine ’13—who released a single titled “Just Be” on iTunes, as well as on other online music databases in March—thinks that eliminating the CD would simply further the technological gap between today’s youth and the older generation that is not necessarily as technologically adept.

Devine also adds that there is a demographic that does not have access to computers, and eliminating the CD would make it difficult for this population to listen to music.

“I think music should be available to everyone, no matter their age or socioeconomic condition,” Devine said. “We simply have to take into account that not everyone has the luxury of owning a computer. Although we live in a technologically-driven world that has pushed the CD closer and closer to obsolescence, some people still look to the CD as their source for music.”

In terms of how this change may economically affect the music industry, Gaïane Offredo ’13 does not think record labels will see any change in their revenue.

“While the music industry may initially lose money because an entire physical CD costs more to consumers than having the option of purchasing a single on iTunes, ultimately, that money will come back to them since they will no longer have to pay manufacturers and suppliers to produce these CDs,” Offredo said. “Eventually, it will all even out.”

Do you think the music industry will decide to eliminate CDs? If they do, will it be the end of an era? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!