Digital Music?

old_piano

A recent report estimates that digital sales will account for 82.6% of all music sold by the year 2013. If that statistic is true, it signals bad news for the physical manufacturing plants in the US (and hits home with my dear friends at ESP in Buffalo, NY, who have done manufacturing for my family for almost 30 years).

As in any business, realism always wins over idealism. And while I’ll be the first to say I’m a fan of holding a physical product in my hands (nothing compares to the old vinyl albums in feel or richness of sound), even I have seen the advantages of digital distribution. Minimal overhead, world-wide access, and speed of delivery are all things that the “old way” can not even touch. And services like NoiseTrade have even helped bridge the gap between would-be thieves and outdated record-company giants (citing that no one wants to pay $21.99 for a CD), by offering a cool compromise to file sharing.

With that said, how much of your “new music” is bought digitally vs. a physical CD? If physical, do you buy it new or used, and from a retail store or an online seller? ch:

  • I used to be a physical and usually from online, but once I started buying iTunes gift cards I’ve bought almost all new music from iTunes. Thus I’m now a digital. At about $10 an album it is on average about $6 cheaper, and no shipping. With the amount of music I purchase, it’s much more affordable to use digital.

  • I haven’t bought a physical CD in over 2 years.

    And even then, it was because I couldn’t get it digitally (it was old back catalogue for Love), though it’s available online now.

    I thought I’d miss physical, but in reality, I don’t. Weird.

    And I used to spend a lot of time in used stores when I was at university.

  • Evan McGann

    If I like a good portion of a cd I try to make a point to buy the physical album so I can have all the artwork, lyrics and can share it easily. If I listen to a cd and only like a few songs I just buy each one for a buck off itunes. I’ve also received a few itunes gift cards as of late too :/. It be a bummer to see real cds disappear.

    -E

  • Billy.J

    I used to spend up to $15 for a single CD; but once I got my iPod, I have bought most of my CD’s off of iTunes. I still prefer the feel of the physical CD and the designs spread across it. Despite me like of physical albums, if I can find an actual physical CD for the same price as it is from iTunes, then I’m all over that.

  • I like to buy a physical CD when possible so that I can import it to iTunes in the format of my choosing, and not be locked into the Protected AAC format that iTunes purchases demand. When I want to put together an mp3 mix for a car CD player that is so-equipped, the AAC format is a real hinderance.

  • Will Farr, iTunes purchases are no longer protected as they recently switched completely over to the iTunes Plus for everything.

    Unfortunately it only applies to new purchases, or you can pay about a third of the original price to upgrade to the plus format, which is kind of annoying but I like having them unlocked and convertible.

  • Chris,

    Congrats again on the new baby! And I’ve never seen a blog like yours where the pictures are the index to the blog posts. Very cool!

    On digital music, I have to say that it is coming. We no longer play CDs in our house, but only the digitized versions that we make of our CDs. With kids in the house, its great, because I don’t have to worry about them getting scratched, lost, or misplaced.

    But that being said, even though I buy physical CDs and then record them, the fact that I use them digitally means that the jump to buying digital only is *tiny*. It’ll happen!

    I don’t think CDs or their equivalent will ever go away (what would you sell at a concert?), but hey, things are changing so fast my head is spinning.

    You’ve got a great blog, bro!

    -Robert

  • Leah Stockholm

    I think both concepts are great but I personally like the physical product, to me I’m getting more for what I am paying, and it’s just cool to be able to see the hard work put into it and the design concept the artist has come up with. When it comes to buying the physical copy I tend to buy it new from the artist, because I feel like it in turn helps the artist continue with the magic they are making.

    ~*~ Leah

  • Chris Losinger

    I Personally like the digital download due to the fact that I am on the go all the time. thus I have my ipod. That is much smaller then the cd and cd player itself. If this is the new way to download to support your artist then I am all for it. However, I do feel bad for the one’s losing their Job at the plants.

  • Thanks for all the great feedback gang. Isn’t it interesting to see how far we’ve come in such short time? Convenience and efficiency have had a dizzying impact of getting songs to consumers.

    Robert: appreciate your kind words on the blog face-lift. Thanks. And boy do I hear you on the kid thing! LOL Our last SUV CD player broke because the kids decided to use it as a combo-CD player/ATM. (No, they didn’t get any money out of it, but I spent plenty).

    A quick tip for all those of you dealing with the ACC encoding: I get all my online downloads from Amazon (download their widget for both PC & Mac). Songs are about $0.10 less per song (and $1.00 per album), AND there is no ACC encoding.

    Download responsibly. ch: