Death of the CD accompanies rebirth of the vinyl record

by Sam Zimmerman
The CD has been music’s main form of physical distribution for nearly 30 years. Recently websites, such as side-line.com and techcrunch.com have reported that the major record labels Universal and Sony plan to end the production of the CD by 2012. As a result, the distribution of music would be limited to digital dowloading and vinyl records, which have made a comeback in the music industry.
   The two record labels have yet to confirm or deny these rumors, but much like cassette tapes and eight-tracks, the compact disc will eventually be   taken from store shelves across the globe. “As more and more people continue to buy music online as MP3s, CD sales will continue to plummet. Our generation sees MP3s as an easier and more convenient way of obtaining music, rather than  going and buying compact discs,” said senior Brandon Rodriguez.
According to The New York Times, MP3 sales passed CD sales for the first time in 2008 and have continued to do so ever since. “I haven’t purchased a physical CD in six years so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me,” said junior Hadley Jones.
Vinyl records left mainstream focus in the early ‘90s and are easing their way back in. According to Rolling Stone, overall album sales dropped 13 percent in 2010 while vinyl record sales increased 14 percent throughout 2009. Last July, the Official Chart Company reported that vinyl sales surpassed 2010’s sales, so this coming year should prove to be an even better year for vinyl records.
Retailers such as Hot Topic and FYE have picked up on the trend and are stocking up on the latest vinyl releases. “When my favorite band broke up, I purchased all of their albums on vinyl, framed them and displayed them in my room,” said senior Robert Lockatell.
The real question is whether or not CD’s will be able to make a similar comeback in the future. Ross Shotland, the founder and owner of the Long-Island-based record label Enjoy the Ride Records, which specializes in reissuing alternative rock albums on Vinyl, does not think so. “Once computers and cars are produced without CD drives, they will be gone for good. Vinyl records allow fans to see album artwork in detail, and the warm tone produced from the record cannot be replicated on CD or digital files,” said Shotland.
The end of the CDwill mark the end of an era. Physical distribution will be a venue only for those who put out more money for vinyl and who truly appreciate everything an album has to offer: its music and its packaging.