Home > Uncategorized > Music Industry Moving to End CD Format in 2012

Music Industry Moving to End CD Format in 2012

The headline is sensationalist and provocative, but after doing considerable checking, the news seems to be true even if the major labels have yet to comment.  Apparently, in the board rooms of the largest mainstream labels, the talk is to end the production of physical music, though the time frame in question is “end of 2012.”  Still, with most major releases issued by the end of October in time for Christmas sales, that means that our friends with general market music stores may have already received their final shipment of compact discs by this time next year.

This piece from a few weeks ago at Sideline Music contained more information than some of the shorter items circulating online:

…The major labels plan to abandon the CD-format by the end of 2012 (or even earlier) and replace it with download/stream only releases via iTunes and related music services. The only CD-formats that will be left over will be the limited edition ones, which will of course not be available for every artist. The distribution model for these remaining CD releases would be primarily Amazon which is already the biggest CD retailer worldwide anyhow.

3 weeks ago we heard it for the first time and since then we have tried getting some feedback from EMI, Universal and Sony. All declined to comment.

The news doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have been working in the business. In a piece that was published in a q&a with the Alfa Matrix people back in June 2011 in the 1st issue of “Matrix Revelations”, our chief editor Bernard Van Isacker said the following when asked if a CD would still exist in 5 years:

“Yes, but in a different format. Normal CDs will no longer be available because they don’t offer enough value, limited editions on the other hand will remain available and in demand for quite a few more years. I for one buy only limited editions because of the added value they offer: a nice design, extra bonus gadgets, etc. The album as we know it now however will be dead within 5 years, if it isn’t even sooner. I predict that downloads will have replaced the CD album within the next 2 years. I don’t see that as something negative, it just has run its course, let’s leave the space to limited editions (including vinyl runs for bigger acts) and downloads instead.”  

[…continue reading here…]

The news is further complicated by the suggestion that the default distribution system for the remaining physical CDs would be Am*zon, which begs the question: If you have older (or poorer) customers who are not online, and therefore not part of the digital revolution; if they can’t download, how are they expected to buy online?

In our industry, this could be a boon to smaller, independent labels and artists who might continue to use remaining CD manufacturers to get their product out there.

Currently, we are already seeing cases of product — especially the case of an individual song getting Christian radio airplay —  which is “download only” including everything from contemporary group NewSong, to heavier bands like P.O.D., effectively cutting traditional Christian retail out of the music delivery process.

  1. Lando Klassen
    November 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    This is truly bad news, we will have to figure out what we can do to replace those lost dollars with.

  2. Mel Zachary
    November 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Not only will we lose the CD sales, but if it is a gift, we lose the sale of the birthday card and giftbag add-ons. Plus, we will lose sales that are the result of people coming in to purchase CDs being exposed to other products on display.

    If you substitute “book” for CD in these articles, perhaps you can see the end of the traditional publishing industry in the not too distant future.

  3. Justin dummer
    November 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    This is a scary thing, what will happen to HMV when this happen ? Will there suddenly dis appear over night, if that happens it will leave a great whole on the high street. Sad times : (

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Your Response (Value-Added Comments Only)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: