Oh Compact Disc, we hardly knew ye…


Will CD soon be superseding vinyl as a collector’s item?

This article informs me that the CD is dead.  Or at least in an advanced state of decrepitude –

As of 2010 Linn, the legendary hi-fi system manufacturer, will cease the production of CD players.

It was inevitable, I guess.  Like vinyl before it, CDs are being outdone by new media in terms of their capacity and flexibility.  In fact, the new media doesn’t really even exist (unless you count the hard drive).  It certainly appears like removable, collectable hardware is on its way out (with removable, collectable software now under threat from streaming and the Cloud).  What will this do to music?

I read an interesting article on the somewhat ethereal iTablet recently (although I doubt the iTablet’s existence – the whole thing smells faintly of April Fool).  The iTablet wasn’t what I found interesting, it was what was said at the bottom –

On iTunes, all music has become a “song.” Verdi’s Requiem Mass is downloadable as a bunch of songs. For an entire generation, a Beethoven symphony is now four songs.

This sounds pretty awful.  The album is being slowly discombobulated, dismembered into a handful of songs (how can you appreciate Sgt. Pepper if you don’t listen to it from start to finish?).  Is this reductionist destruction really what we want for the fate of music?

Maybe we just need to take a deep breath and think of the positives here – the opening of doors for garage bands and independent labels, the freedom to listen to an eclectic smorgasbord of aural delights.  Besides, I think I’ll be keeping my CDs for the future – my children will probably have to buy an overpriced, underperforming CD player for my 50th birthday so I can listen to the White Stripes with what will probably be appallingly low sound quality, compared to their high tech sensory experiences that are probably downloaded straight into their brain.  Perhaps it will be the inferior sound quality, the need to blow on the CD to get it to work, and the general fiddliness of the experience which will make me the most wistful.

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