Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Audio CD sales up in 2020!

I just went online to buy a CD of the latest release from I band I like. I believe the album release date was in January.  I wanted a CD, something tangible, something I could hold in my hand and look at. The first thing I found upon Goolgling the band name + the album title were a bunch of links to pirated copies. Then I narrowed Google down to "shopping," still with no luck. Then I went directly to Amazon and searched on the same. I found the $9.99 MP3 download version of the album but wait… there was a link to "Also available in CD Format" where I found…

We've been hearing about this, that record companies would be stopping the distribution of albums on CD but this is the first time I've run into it. While I CAN still get a CD, this was a sign. It's a German band, not mainstream music so I'm sure that effects things. I can order it from the band's website for 24.50 EUR ($32.06 at the moment) including shipping and whoever's tax I'm paying but I have to create an account there and log in to confirm all this.

CDs started making a huge impact on distribution and sales of vinyl records once CD players became affordable in the early 80's and they took over market share by the late 80's. By 1991 vinyl records left mainstream album distribution. Thing is, record albums have had a resurgence in recent years, in 2009 almost 3 million records were sold, the most in ten years. Fact is vinyl records as an overall buying experience will never be beat by any other medium. The act of going to the local record store, thumbing through the records was an energizing event.. Even though I grew up in a large suburb of Los Angeles there was always a small independent record store around and you could even make requests to hear some of the music you planned to buy (or just wanted to hear) while you were shopping. During the mid-70s my friends and I would frequent a local record shop called Odd Tunes and Mole Music where we would often have after hours listening sessions with the owner and his lady friend. We'd dim the lights, sit back on a couch and otherwise indulge while listening from an enormous selection. I was exposed to music I may never have heard otherwise. I remember one album in particular, Mountain In The Clouds by Miroslav Vitous-- you weren't going to just hear that--not anywhere. It was a wonderful time when stereos were furniture and not little devices we threw in our pockets or stuff we connected to our cell phones.

Miroslav Vitous, from the album Magical Shepard (not highly recommended-but Mountain In The Clouds is.) Custom double neck bass/guitar by Rex Bogue.

Music wasn't very portable until the Walkman was released in 1979 and it took a year or two before that dropped in price. In 2005 I bought my current Sherwood A/B home cassette deck because I found a box load of irreplaceable recordings I wanted to digitize. I first went shopping at stereo stores but gave up quickly. One salesperson, probably 19-20 years old didn't know what I was talking about. I finally described the tape and said she may have seen one in an older car. That's when she said no, we don't have any of those. I bought the Sherwood online. I used to carry around a rather bulky about 12" x 8" x 4" Panasonic cassette player, AM/FM radio early 70's. 'Actually taped a lot of music off the radio with that. Really, I'm not kidding. But it certainly wasn't convenient and music listening was much more of a social event than it is today, those portable solutions were mainly used when you couldn't find a place minus parents. What was typical was sitting around large pieces of furniture and these pieces of furniture housed our stereo equipment.

My earliest childhood home listening experience was in front of this. This housed Altec-Lansing speakers (8" full range), a Harman/Kardon tube stereo receiver (currently under repair by me) and a Girard turntable. This was brand new circa 1962. That's my cat, Lucy The Cat, sticking her head out circa today.

So, a little math but we'll round off the years for sake of simplicity. Say the CD took over vinyl records pretty completely by 1989 then records had their revival 20 years later in 2009 but there were modest sales coming into play as early as 1998. I'm going to recommend this--hang onto your CD collections and see what renewed value they have out of either nostalgia or just because people like to have stuff. This is going to happen by 2020. Also, by 2040 record LPs will become the Art Nouveau framed and hanging in people's living rooms and music itself will have become illegal a la Frank Zappa's, Joe's Garage. If you think you'll be around then, prepare to go underground.

"Our studies have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large that laws are being drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman punishments are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they won't conflict with the Constitution (which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate THE FUTURE)."
-The Central Scrutinizer
(Scene One, Frank Zappa's, Joe Garage) 

(By the way, if anybody actually reads this and is curious about the album I was shopping for it is the 2011 release by a band called Sylvan titled Sceneries and it looks like I'm going to order from their website.) Look for it on eBay in 2020.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the guitar in the first pic.Looking crazy man.Nice blog............