How long do you expect record labels to continue releasing CDs?

Clearly, plenty of readers are still committed to CD for one reason or another. How long do you expect record labels to continue releasing CDs?

How long do you expect record labels to continue releasing CDs?
For another 20 years at least
33% (125 votes)
10–15 years
21% (79 votes)
5–10 years
27% (105 votes)
3–5 years
14% (53 votes)
A couple of years
4% (16 votes)
Up to a year
1% (2 votes)
It ends this year
1% (4 votes)
Total votes: 384

S.  Chapman's picture

I said 5—10 years, but unfortunately brick-and-mortar CD stores with a deep selection are going the way of high-end audio dealers. That is, they're rapidly disappearing. You already have to order older CDs and anything out of the mainstream from Amazon or another online dealer. I suspect that within 3—5 years, CDs will become a niche item for audiophiles and music collectors with eclectic tastes, while the rest of the public will get its music from iTunes or another online source.

Bret S's picture

Cassettes lasted forever, CDs will not go away easily.

Dismord's picture

At least until I leave the planet, I hope. But hey, how long did we expect LPs to be produced after the arrival of CD. Remember the slogan Sony pushed at the launch of CD? "Perfect sound forever."

craig's picture

With the pace of technology advancing, who knows for sure? But since vinyl is still being produced 20+ years after introduction of the CD, I am thinking CDs will be produced for a very long time. Problem is that they may become a niche market and be even more expensive than the $10—15 they are today.

Douglas Bowker's picture

10–15 years. But it's hard to say, probably more. Look at the sales for old CDs—or even new ones. There is still plenty of money to be made.

Don's picture

3-5 years. Like I've said before, CDs will probably exist as a well-loved legacy format like vinyl records. The future still looks bright though for high-end two channel with DRM-free downloads. I can see artists (and I use the term loosely) like Britney Spears (no offense) going straight to download ;0) One last note (partly due to the fact that I am typing with one hand, my left appendage is holding a very nice drink): hard drives need to drop in price for high-rez files to become commonplace. offer 1TB iPods and CD will be dead in the mainstream marketplace for sure.

Bubba in SF's picture

Maybe three to five years. WalMart will carry them because there are many low income people (especially now) that can not afford high-speed Internet. (The whole two society deal: those with Internet and those without is another topic.) If we truly get real-time bandwidth then sooner than three, not five.

Dwight Yoakam's picture

Vinyl is still around after all this time, so I imagine CDs will last another 10 years or so.

Teresa's picture

Why are record labels still releasing single layer CDs when hybrid CD/SACDs offer not only high-resolution stereo and high-resolution multichannel, but a CD layer as well? No wonder their sales are going down!

Daniel's picture

There's life in the old silver beermat yet. This is probably because it wasn't part of some stupid and self-destructive format war, so everyone bought them and in large quantities.

Woody Battle's picture

CDs are cheap and easy to produce.

Sam Tellig's picture

Just because everyone seems convinced that CDs will go away leads me to believe they won't. Predictions are almost always wrong. Perfect sound forever!

Dimitris Gogas's picture

There are still LPs released, right?

Antonio G.'s picture

I believe we will see CDs for another 20 years (at least), since they are so easy to transport and can be used in boomboxes, cars, home audio, etc.

Steve Gillis's picture

If they can provide good prices to buy CDs compared to burning a CDs, people will always buy them.

vlad's picture

Recent gear has proved that there is still room for improvement.

Hugo Rosa's picture

Still a valid and good medium to bring music and quality of sound to all. It depends of how it's used.

RP's picture

Well, things could happen over night now. All that's really needed is for the industry to realize that online DRM-free distribution in both lossless and lossy is the way forward and then wait for the last few old timers around here to pull themselves up off their self illusions about the real world.

soren's picture

The problem is not the medium, but the music. CDs are fine. the music mostly sucks. Get the music back from big business and "let the music play."

Joe's picture

I am 25 and in the past six years the only CDs I've actually purchased were those that are unavailable from iTunes or other online sites. I haven't owned a CD player in three years and have no plans to purchase one ever again. On the flip side, I just purchased my first TT and enjoy throwing on an LP from time to time.

richard's picture

They're still the most convenient medium. They make good gifts. The content can be loaded into a computer or server, and then reloaded when the hard drive breaks. Sound quality is good enough for all but the most demanding audiophile, and playback technology keeps improving. Is there really an alternative?

Steven Bell's picture

I hope for a long time to come. I enjoy the liner notes and art that come with CDs. That is one of the things that I really miss about vinyl. The album covers were incredible. I still look at them when I can. Please don't let us {Americans} screw up CDs as we have SACD and DVD-A! Red Book is great with a good DAC. As I said in another post, Sony needs to share technology instead of charging extra for it. They will still benefit from it, they are just too greedy, as most are any more. Save SACD and DVD-A!

Lawrie's picture

'Til the older guys stop buying.

Lim's picture

The CD technology is not at its peak yet. Proper quality mastering and less dynamic compression will ensure its longevity.

Jim's picture

Depends on both how quickly the public learns all that money they spent at iTunes, et al, goes away when a drive crashes and when someone (other than Touch and Go) realizes there's infrastructure on the Internet to sell uncompressed PCM files. 128 kbps was amazing quality back in 1997.

Glenn Bennett's picture

There will always be thousands of people with no way to download music or video. I will buy CDs as long as they are available.

Anonymous's picture

(3-5) With MP3s and vinyl's return, the formats seem to be increasingly polarized, with CDs in an uncomfortable middle position. The RIAA website has some interesting statistics posted. According to the 2008 year-end statistics, the year-end sales are down to 387.4 million units, from 511.1 million last year. On the other hand, vinyl has grown from 1.3 million to 2.9. Still a sliver of the market, but a very healthy increase, if seen as a percentage.

Mark's picture

While records are still a fad and digital files are convenient for portable audio players there will always be a sizable base of people who need a physical, high-resolution digital format.'s picture

Interesting question. I'd say for another 20 years at least. But that won't be the major labels. As for when the majors change over to the 20th century, who knows? They still want to push CD as well because anything electronic is pirating and illegal, right? Idiots.

EG's picture

The very worst that could happen is that SACD would survive in a niche market for audiophiles much like the vinyl LP. The best that could happen is that labels would release music in a variety of formats and resolutions and let you pick the ones you want.