Ten Years From Now: The CD Revival

Pitchfork‘s Tom Ewing writes a convincing imagining of a future in which the compact disc makes a comeback as a music format. Much as is happening with tape cassette culture right now…

Back in London, wiping strawberry jam from a CD, Reece Maclay agrees. “All the music I’ve ever known I got free, and I didn’t know what owning or paying for music was all about– not that most CD labels charge anything but voluntary fees anyway. But all this isn’t just about trying to turn the clock back ’cause we liked mix CDs when we were kids. CDs started to die when people stopped wanting to pay for a product, and then social media and music streams came along and let people stop paying for it all legally, and the product vanished. But when you can’t see what the product is and someone’s still making money, then the product is you.”

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  • radiac

    Well on the upside, this should be the last time we have to endure physical format revival fetish.

  • voxmagi

    A neat futuristic spin…except that if CDs die of anything it will be from a music culture crash brought on by high prices, depression era frugality, and the end result of a decade that watched independent artists and labels marginalized until new acts were subjected to rigorous testing to meet pop sensibility requirement levels…leaving true music lovers behind in an era of nearly identical mass produced drek.

    Tomorrows advertising for music…”The crap we'll make you want to hear, at a price you can't afford!!”

  • nemoide

    I think I may have paid for maybe 5 MP3s in my life. I still buy CDs., I don't think they're ever going to completely vanish, even if they become much less popular.

    Because if I'm spending money on something (which I do because I like supporting artists) I want to get some physical THING.

    But I have a turntable and cassette deck and I'll use them regularly to. There's a large amount of awesome stuff that doesn't exist in other formats!

  • dumbsaint

    CDs sound is miles better than MP3. There's good reason to still listen to them (or at least rip them to an uncompressed format like FLAC.).

    Mind you vinyl still does it for me. I still find music that was designed for records in mind sounds better on it.

  • tonyviner

    I still buy CDs, I steal music, though, when I am not able to find what I am looking for at the store, which is usually. Honestly, most of what I steal is just to find out if I like something, I already own most of what I know that I like.

  • http://www.myspace.com/santosramos fabian_ramos

    yep. I remember these in church

  • E.B. Wolf

    “…when you can’t see what the product is and someone’s still making money, then the product is you.”
    Short. Sweet. Perfect.

  • ebwolf

    “…when you can't see what the product is and someone's still making money, then the product is you.”
    Short. Sweet. Perfect.

  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    At this point media type only matters regarding sound quality and listening environment. CDs always had lossless sound with portable functionality. Vinyl didn’t stick around as a “revival.” People started buying them again when MP3s arrived and the indie “revolution” picked up speed last decade, because it was a physical product you could touch. But more importantly, vinyl has a specific sound that can’t really be duplicated digitally. I always felt that CDs were really cold and impersonal, but I got a CD player in my car after not even having a radio for a while. Let me tell you, I’m excited to pull out all my CDs again. However, everyone at Pitchfork can suck a tailpipe. I don’t know what the hell anyone would listen to a cassette tape for today. That’s just hipster pandering, the kind Pitchfork should have lost its power to conduct years ago. Good luck finding a stupid old boombox where you can play the cassettes that’ll last for a year or two before either the boombox or the cassettes break.

  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    At this point media type only matters regarding sound quality and listening environment. CDs always had lossless sound with portable functionality. Vinyl didn’t stick around as a “revival.” People started buying them again when MP3s arrived and the indie “revolution” picked up speed last decade, because it was a physical product you could touch. But more importantly, vinyl has a specific sound that can’t really be duplicated digitally. I always felt that CDs were really cold and impersonal, but I got a CD player in my car after not even having a radio for a while. Let me tell you, I’m excited to pull out all my CDs again. However, everyone at Pitchfork can suck a tailpipe. I don’t know what the hell anyone would listen to a cassette tape for today. That’s just hipster pandering, the kind Pitchfork should have lost its power to conduct years ago. Good luck finding a stupid old boombox where you can play the cassettes that’ll last for a year or two before either the boombox or the cassettes break.