Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CD vs Digital: It's (probably) not what you think

I've always believed that part of the power of music to communicate its message is rooted in its tangibility. We not only hear music, we - literally - 'feel' it. Part of the sensation of 'feeling' in wrapped up in touch: when we are moved by something, for instance, we say that we are 'touched'. To be 'moved' by something is to be 'touched' by it.

Paul Resnikoff's article '40 Years of Music Industry Change, In 40 Seconds or Less...' is a must-read. I was stunned while watching the featured & fascinating time-lapse pie chart showing the fluctuation in CD sales since 1973. 

That CDs are still enjoying healthy sales will no doubt come as a surprise to most. This graph demonstrates that it's not a 'this OR that' scenario for listeners; it's more about choosing this AND that. With multiple options, listeners do not have to choose sides.

While Vinyl still offers the best option in terms of audio quality and album art, as well as a physical immediacy which embodies a more direct connection to the artist, the portability, fuller sonic range and durability of the CD offers the next best thing. Digital downloads offer convenience, economy and speed, 3 essential considerations.

Black & White scenarios make good headlines, but the truth lies somewhere in those intermediate realms which often belie our beliefs. Sometimes, it's worth stopping to consider that our commonly held assumptions are likely to be disrupted by one individual with the imagination and tools to question it.  

I say, Cheers to that!

~ V

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