Are CDs Outdated?

Image Credits: via Creative Commons

Gina Gugliuzza, Staff Writer

Cheap, compact, and containing any fan’s favorite tracks, CDs offer a world of music-listening possibilities, but as computers and laptops remove CD drives, and artists sell less and less physical albums, it begs the question: Have CDs become less popular?

In the age of streaming, fans are able to listen to their favorite songs for free, whenever and wherever they want to. The versatility of streaming has not gone unnoticed, as streaming accounted for 83% of the United States’ music revenue in 2020 alone. In fact, the majority of profit made off of music nowadays comes from streaming. Although CD’s cost up to $20 upfront, artists still get most of their profits from this type of platform. Even though $0.00331 or $0.00437 per Spotify stream” doesn’t sound like a lot, for artists such as Bad Bunny, it starts to add up, due to the millions of streams from their music.

On the other hand, vinyl records have also made a revival in recent years becoming a staple in fan collections for only $5 more on average than CDs. People also prefer vinyl records for their packaging. The album art present on the outside along with the record design on the inside sounds much more appealing to many than a transparent case with the album art in a small pamphlet inside. Record sales surpassed CD sales for the first time since 1991, making up 50.4% of all physical sales of music. 

With the resurgence of vinyl records, as well as the rise of the age of digital streaming, CDs are falling behind their competition. As CDs continue to decline in popularity, can we expect them to become outdated? It appears that CDs might soon indeed be in the category of 8-tracks and cassettes – losing their musical trend!