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Slate on the death of the CD

So, Daniel Gross in Slate read the same article that I did in the NYTimes and came away with a very different conclusion.

He thinks that the CD (and the album) are alive and well, it is just the music business model that is bad. He points to several (of my favorite) small chain music stores that cater to more of a musical niche and says that since their business is booming, the CD must be doing just fine.

This argument makes no sense. It is like saying that because dance music companies and some independent record labels still produce and sell vinyl that the record is still alive and well.

The folks that shop at Rasputin’s, Wall of Sound, Other Music, and other are fanatics. How do I know? I’m one of them and I recognize the glint in the eye of my fellow shoppers when they come across that obscure Radboud Mens disc in the rack. We will continue to buy CDs (and vinyl) for a long time to come. Long after the rest of mainstream America has switched to digital downloads completely and the stores that cater to us will continue to thrive.

That said, this ballgame is nearly over. The fat lady has sung. Even the independents are moving to downloads. Shipping shiny discs around the world makes even less sense when you sell fewer of them and are completely dependent on your livelihood on the customer paying the store, the store paying the distributor, and the distributor paying you and then you recouping all the costs of manufacturing those shiny discs.

The business model for downloads is SOOO much more compelling than the business model for selling physical product. The only reason the majors haven’t switched is because they have so much invested in the infrastructure and can’t understand where things are going well enough to get in front of it. (Suing their customers isn’t helping too much either).

Lets bury this thing already, but first, please buy as many Unit Circle CDs as you can. I don’t want to store these things forever…

[my previous article]

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