Sunday, January 30, 2011

The CD, the MP3, and the Murky Future of Recorded Music

If you don't follow Moses Avalon, or have read any of his work, then you really should. Although some of what he writes skews to getting a record deal with a major, there are so few who actually do, I wonder who he is writing to.

But in his great new little book "Moses Avalon's 100 Answers to 50 Questions on the Music Business" he really gets down to the questions you have about the current music business, and the state it is in.

Especially interesting to me was the question: "Are CDs going away?"

At Creative Soul Records we get asked this all the time. Will there be only downloads in a few years and will our CDs be worthless trash like cassettes are now?

His answer is: CDs aren't going away for some time now.

Think about it. Every day over 100,000 XBoxes, PS3s, DVD Players, Blu-Ray players, car stereos being installed, CD & DVD writers, and yes even CD boom boxes and players are being made.

ALL of these products being manufactured every day are backward compatible to the CD. So for YEARS, people will have a way to play CDs, and it will still be an easy way to listen to music most anywhere you are.

MP3s actually are a much less stable commodity. Think about it, already there are newer, better choices. MP4, AAC, and how soon until storage space is no big deal and we just trade WAV or AIF or some other large loss-less format? What if we move to 24-bit digital WAV files as the norm because space is so cheap, or someone invents a new form that's 32-bit like some kind of advanced Blu-Ray audio file??

So don't fret for the CD just yet. While the replacement cycle for CDs may have died down now that everyone has re-bought all their cassettes and records on compact disc, it's not a forgotten tech. Remember, the high end CD players never caught on, so the CD is still the top consumer audio device to buy music on.

So make those CDs with pride and optimism. They still are the top seller at concerts, the best hard copy of your music to show off and give away, and you know it's what your momma likes.

Unless Mom prefers cassettes. Then she's just out of luck. Sorry Mom.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is president of Creative Soul Records, an alternate reality record label, production company, and (gasp) artist development company outside Nashville, TN. Find out more at


Razzgospel said...

I am currently working ona new gospel CD, and have a completed acoustic gospel CD ready to produce. Hard to believe, but not everyone in this country is 25 years old\ and only listens to MP3s. Having a CD in print doesn't mean that you can't still sell mp3s. I am selling more mp3 downloads on some of my earlier CDs than I am CDs. If CDs go the way of 8 tracks or cassettes, I won't be around to see it happen. Hey, rock groups are still releasing some albums on l.p.s. You can hear tracks from my new CD on

Eric Copeland said...

Exactly! But I think the CD will be around a very long tie. Unlike the cassette, the CD is part of many current technologies still being made every day: DVD, Blu-Ray, PS3, XBox, and any computer with a DVD drive in it. Plus, Target and Bestbuy are still selling stereo systems that play CD.

It will likely have it's place forever just as vinyl does.


HiltonsHead said...

I agree! I'm a marketing consultant and publicist to Danny Wright, and we are planning to re-release many of his out of print hit albums from the Moulon D'Or days...some were never on CD before (only cassette) so his fans couldn't be more excited! Of course, we'll also offer digital, because what the fans want, they get...but it's hard to sign and MP3 at a show ;)

Beth Hilton