Unfortunately, that's too small a niche market to preserve the medium long-term.
I've said for years that CDs will slowly fade away. They won't die out like cassettes did in the
early 90s. Many computers sold today -- and more and more cars -- don't include 5" disc drives
anymore. Once that trend takes full hold, especially in cars, CD sales will fall off precipitously.
Look at the deals that the car makers are doing with tech companies, streaming into cars will take
the place of statellite radio soon enough. Cars that are connected to the cloud from everywhere
(planned and in development progress) won't need any sort of physical media playback, including any
sort of on-board MP3/AAC storage. There will be outliers, but what I'm describing will be 80+% of
car sales before the end of the decade. Once the way to play CDs are gone from average people's
lives, they won't buy any more CDs. Same goes for DVDs, by the way.
On the other side of the coin, UMG (and I assume Sony and maybe Warner Music) have changed their CD
manufacturing and inventory model. In fact, Decca Classics has been able to bring back into print
(in theory) almost all of the individual Mercury Living Presence and most of the Decca and Philips
CDs. The catch is, it's all print on demand. A country-marketing unit of the company decides what's
in print in their market, based on retailer demand. The new trick is that the plant can profitably
produce runs as small as a few hundred copies. And it's not print-on-demand CDR stuff, we're talking
real-deal aluminum CDs. I think the big innovation is in the switch-over time at the plant, there
must be some new way to swap parts on the stamping machines in a very quick and efficient manner.
The improved efficiencies at the plants also make these many-CD sets profitable when the per-disc
price is a couple of dollars. The problem with the many-CD sets is that they need to be produced in
advance in certain quantities to be viable. So if there is not enough pre-demand from retailers,
they don't get made. I have been impressed with retailer discipline, in most cases they haven't
dropped prices to their cost levels if something is a slower seller than they projected. But they
might, and once that happens the viability of many-CD boxes will be under seige.
As far as what's left in the vaults that has any commercial viability, I think we're in the end
days, at least with classical music recordings. The material that doesn't get remastered and
reissued in the very near future (next few years) will never see the light of day again. The tapes
will get too deteriorated to play back under budget constraints, and there will be so little demand
that any rational businessman will see that the assets are essentially worthless.
I'll stick with my predicition that the Compact Disc will be a submerged medium (ie nothing to
almost nothing will be released, all or most manufacturing plants will be shuttered and no one or
almost no one will be making playback equipment) by 2025 or 2030. I do think it will be a long
fadeout. The day Sony or UMG announce they are severing ties with their former or current
manufacturing plants will be the death knell.
For the record, I will miss physical media. I don't really care about the data carrier (5" shiny
disc) because I now grab them all into my media server's hard drives when I get them. I will miss
the booklets and cover art. Maybe a future medium will have the data on a paper-thin something that
just clouds into your music server, and the booklet is the only physical media. You could
theoretically do this today, have the booklet's last page be one of those "barcode" things that
triggers an app, the app then downloads the music into your system. Will artists and record
companies want to bother with booklets? Given how shoddy the metadata stuff is so far, I doubt it.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Music Hunter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:47 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD Sales Drop - New Article
Libraries and universities ordering more than ever!
Your search for sound & video ends here!
Jay Sonin, General Manager
Music Hunter Distributing Company
4880 North Citation Drive, Suite # 101
Delray Beach, Florida 33445-6552
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] CD Sales Drop - New Article
Guess this is no big surprise:
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