I have been collecting CDs, audiocassettes and vinyl for as long as I can remember. I grew up among the records of my parents till eventually I became a collector myself. There was always something so real and thrilling about holding a CD or an audiocassette, opening it, admiring the photobook inside, and playing it on your Panasonic player which was probably older than your parents. Then, it’s your birthday and you get the latest album of your favorite artist as a gift from your parents! I swear, these were the best times! I have never begged for toys or any other stuff – all I wanted were more and more records. It was the ‘90s after all – music was everywhere, MTV was at its finest, new and interesting pop stars were coming out each and every second. Along with that technology was developing and we got the chance to purchase and enjoy music systems, producing a sound with a much higher quality than before. It was essential for every household to have a stereo and a shelf with a long line of CDs or audiocassettes. I guess it was a sign of being cool and trendy. People were obsessed with music, were devoted fans and were still passionately buying the latest albums of their favorite or not-so-favorite but currently popular artist.
The ‘90s are long gone, however. Along with them, numerous practices, trends and values in music disappear. Then, there was this little thing called the Internet, which completely changed the face of the music industry. I cannot just blame the Internet for the fact that the industry changed on a worldwide level or for the fact that people stopped buying CDs. However, we can’t but think about it for a little bit. Yes, technology did reach unthinkable highs and now, in 2016 we even have the whole world in our pockets. What is the direct consequence of such technological advancements on the music industry and record sales? –Well, it’s pretty obvious, I think. Everyone went digital –downloading, online streaming, online everything… I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; I’m just trying to analyze the factors that led to people stop purchasing CDs. In addition to that, people and their attitude to music changed a little bit, I think. I cannot say why but I do believe that people don’t really value music the same way as before. Yes, we do have favorite artists, we do have our favorite songs and we do quote our favorite lyrics but everything is so temporary. Music nowadays is not “timeless” or memorable. Music nowadays is seasonal and people do enjoy and love it but for a limited amount of time. On top of that, there are so many genres, so many artists, so many trends, so many websites and so many ways to be exposed to music. Sometimes I feel like the general public cannot really establish a strong relationship with an artist that may lead to picking up your keys and wallet, going to the nearest record store and buying their CD. But how can you establish a strong relationship with the artists nowadays? Maybe it’s just me but I cannot relate with pop artists nowadays, I just can’t… they are too many and their music sounds the same so NO, I’m not going to buy Beyoncé or Katy Perry’s latest CD.
However, old-school rock’n’rollers like myself somehow still keep on purchasing records and CDs. Numerous classic rockers are also releasing or re-mastering their previous works from the ‘70s and ‘80s and people keep on buying them. Why? It’s generational. We grew up with a different mindset and a different way of thinking when it comes to music and its value. We have outstanding bands and artists such as Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, etc. and they still mean a lot to us so we still support them and still try to find that last piece of the puzzle needed to complete our record/CD collection…We still get excited and amazed when they release a new album, simply because they are this dying breed of musicians that still carry something so special in them – something that reminds us of times when music was good and even though it was still all about the money, artists knew how to create timeless classics. Same goes with other artists from other non-rock genres – Pop/RnB/Blues, etc.
Overall, CDs can offer so many things – quality of sound, durability, variety, longevity, a chance to support your favorite artists, etc. However, the reason why I believe that people should buy CDs is to basically feed their “musical soul”. I’m telling you – if you love music and are not just the regular “I listen to what’s trendy nowadays” person, there’s nothing more satisfying than opening a brand new CD, looking though the photobook, reading through the stories till you finally take out the CD and play it. You feel so good – it’s like part of the artist’s soul is there with you and it took a physical form.
What I’m trying to say here is that based on my observations, conversations and interviews with many of my fellow college students and friends, I did conclude that nowadays people don’t buy CDs because they cannot establish a strong relationship with the artists. Is it because the music and the musicians are too many and don’t know how to create meaningful music or it’s because people don’t feel the need to give money for CDs when they can download it for free, I cannot be sure. All I want to say is that CDs is the type of physical media that can bring so much to you and your day. On top of that it’s not just about the CD – it’s about the whole experience and feeling you get from it. You go to the record store, spend some time looking, listening to and observing through the numerous records, till you finally make a choice. A CD is so much more than just a physical object – it’s a way to experience music on a much higher level and with a much stronger emotion. Keep on buying CDs if you are a true music lover!
P.S. These are just my views and opinions I quickly wrote down. Don’t take it too hard and don’t think of it as the ultimate truth. Feel free to express your reasons why you buy/don’t buy CDs! I will be more than happy to read them!
2 thoughts on “Do You Still Buy CDs ?”
I really liked this blog. The part about feeding your soul and the thrill of opening up a cd is so true. Or as you too have, records and cassettes.
I’m generally a bit slower on the uptake of newer digital mediums, even with music, I got a spotify and soundcloud account only a couple of weeks ago. Not sure of their longevity for my use but I have listened to some music through them and it’s a good way of sampling some artists. Also with itunes, ok, yes, I’ve used that for years, i see advantages with that with artists, (maybe using that term loosely for some) that I like only one song I can buy it easily ..(or now use *cough pirate bay *cough cough)
The music quality through iTunes etc.. is always less as it has been so compressed. That’s a downside. But with any artist I really like – I feel like I want the CD. I want that physical hold it in your hands aspect. One artist recently I paid for a download of an older album, as I loved their new cd, though I could have got it for free, simply because I thought they deserved to be paid a few dollars for the enjoyment I receive from their music. Artists nowadays must receive much less income from album sales due to the many avenues for obtaining music on the cheap – streaming, illegal downloads, $1 or $2 songs on iTunes. The classic rock artists rely a lot more on concerts for making an income.
Anyway – an interesting topic. Thanks for writing.
Ian! I guess we are the dying breed of ppl who still buy records and enjoy the magic of the physical object, directly related with ur favorite artist.
One more thing I observed, though, is that nowadays there are many other opportunities for artists to get money so they are not as poor or as deceived as they say they are…. I mean, yes ppl do download music illegally and all that but musicians get tons of money from ads, sponsorship, concert tickets…nowadays the tickets are crazy expensive….
But still….i do think we should keep on purchasing cds and records…it’s important to support the artists!