While it's impossible to predict the future of anything--including CDs--I do think we can say we are seeing an increase in the distribution of online-only music (and video). This presents a growing issue for libraries and archives. As more sound recordings are licensed and distributed through online-only means and are accompanied by restrictive licenses that explicitly forbid institutional ownership and such core library functions as lending, the amount of published material available for libraries to collect is slowly shrinking. It may not be a huge swell of titles at this point, but there are some significant ones: e.g., Dudamel's DG release of Brahms Symphony No. 4. 

U Washington and MLA have received an IMLS grant this year to look at the issue and to brainstorm possible solutions. Called “National Forum on Online-Only Music," the project is essentially a series of meetings, fueled by white papers written by leading experts in IP and other areas. The final of our three meetings will be held in conjunction with NRPB's annual meeting in DC this fall. We hope to develop approaches to the issues including a licensing scenario by which libraries may purchase and provide access to online-only music. More about the grant can be found here:

If you come across examples of online-only music, please share them with me off-list. I'll add them to our "Online-Only Music Roster" that can be found at the above site. 

- John 
John Vallier
Head, Distributed Media 
U of Washington Libraries, Seattle 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Griscom [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:29 AM
> To: MLA-L
> Subject: [MLA-L] Future of CDs
> The CD might not be dying anytime soon, but there is clearly a trend away
> from the purchase of physical objects toward the purchase of digital
> downloads:
> um-sales-fall-behind-album-downloads-is-2014-the
> Dick
> -- 
> Richard Griscom
> Head, Otto E. Albrecht Music Library and          office 215/898-3450
>  Eugene Ormandy Music and Media Center
> Interim Head, Fisher Fine Arts Library            office 215/573-4635
> University of Pennsylvania                 Philadelphia PA 19104-6206