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US Vinyl sales surpass CD sales for the first time in decades

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On 9/11/2020 at 11:46 AM, dingformung said:

Nah, it's kinda significant. A tipping point if you will.

The fact that people still buy vinyl...

😜

Yep, agreed.  I think the statistic speaks more to the precipitous drop in CDs sales than the staying power of vinyl.  

 

Mind you, I have nothing wrong with nostalgia for old vinyl.  But I laugh at the idea of anyone buying a modern Lynard Skynard vinyl boxset and all the other unnecessary oldies reissues.  Are there really not enough copies of Saturday Night Fever still around?

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:19 PM, species8472 said:

its tiring hearing arguments from either side to be honest. spend your money on whatever the fuck you want.

from the environmental perspective - vinyl and cds are the least of our problems.

If there is no argument debate, there is no need for forums.........

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On 9/11/2020 at 4:07 PM, Joyrex said:

And probably 10 years from now CDs will make a comeback as a quaint format from a bygone era...

Every time I say this, especially to the legions of vinyl collectors, the laughs are deafening.  And yet, history has shown >anything< can be a valuable collectible once A) enough time has passed, B) enough people have disposed of their possessions as worthless.  Not sure if CDs will hit that status in 10 years but I have no doubt there will be a CD craze at some point in the future.

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On 9/11/2020 at 5:06 PM, dingformung said:

I don't think CDs will make much of a comeback. They by nature degrade over time quickly. A 10 year old disc might have already lost some of the material that's saved on it or have glitches etc.. CDs are a very bad medium in terms of longevity, more so than vinyl, and also look kinda ugly to be honest (but that perception might vary depending on who you are and in what time you live, lol). Vinyl on the other hand is expensive, takes up a lot of space, requires a specialised record player and the material is toxic. I know, there are many people who have handled a lot of vinyl all life long and became very old. But who knows, maybe they'd have been able to squeeze out another 2 years without the toxic contamination of the vinyl fumes. But even if you don't care about that, what actually is the benefit of it? Vinyl obsession is kinda silly. I'm not saying you aren't allowed to enjoy silly things. A lot of the things I enjoy make no sense and are silly. So why not just admit it's silly instead of acting as if it sounds better than other mediums etc.? Vinyl is extremely silly. Admit it.

I've actually found CDs to be a pretty good archive if handled well.  CD durability is greatly affected by handling.  Kept in a jewel case, handled on the edges and only played in tray style player and a CD will experience almost no wear.  On the other hand, keep your CDs in a caselogic wallet, get fingerprints dirt and grime all over the playing surface, constantly wipe away all that dirt and grime thus scratching your discs, and playing your CDs in insertion type players, then, yes, CDs can deteriorate to the point of unplayability.

 

Curiously, I have quite a few PDO discs affected by disc rot.  Almost all of them are still playable, right up to the end of the disc.  Many show the first signs of rot on the perimeter but that rot hasn't progressed further since I acquired the discs.  I can only assume environment is a factor and keeping the discs in an air conditioned house rather than a hot car has perhaps halted the rot.

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There has been a veritable C-cassette tape revival during the past years, and to me that's really puzzling because the medium itself degrades the content, you will never get the frequency response of any other medium out of even the most high-fidelity magnetic tape. Then again, the hifi enthusiasts appreciate some pretty weird things that to regular music listeners seem outlandishly bizarre (like "reference" ethernet cable for 1600+ €/m or speaker cable for over 10000 €/m - links are in Finnish but you get the point). Like I told previously, I used to be a vinyl-only DJ for nearly 30 years - but my transition to mostly digital has actually been surprisingly painless, because I understood that I love the music more than the format. I still buy vinyl if the release is only available in that format, collectable/limited edition or I want to support the artist/label by paying a premium, but I've gone from 100 % vinyl to about 10 % vinyl, 90 % digital in less than two years, and I'm not going back. The format war has been resolved years ago, I've just been too stubborn to convert.

Edited by dcom

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IMO, cassette always was a stop gap format until better portable formats came along.  As a child I recognized the obvious inferiority of cassette straight away and never invested more than nominal funds into cheap blank cassettes in order to have portable music.  It was, for me, a truly disposable format.  CDs were greatly superior as portable media, especially once CDR technology was widely available.  I understand tape culture and thus understand tape nostalgia, but it is truly laughable anyone might suggest a cassette resurgence.

 

 

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I still buy CDs as i listen to them in my car and at home. Not as many as a few years back but they are still a useful format. 

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Tape can be used creatively, though, much better than the other two mediums.

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turntablism is cancelled.

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8 hours ago, dingformung said:

Tape can be used creatively, though, much better than the other two mediums.

And strung popcorn makes for a quick decoration.  Does that mean popcorn should be sold as jewelry?  Prerecorded cassettes were always a crappy medium for music.

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23 hours ago, dcom said:

There has been a veritable C-cassette tape revival during the past years, and to me that's really puzzling 

 

23 hours ago, tailings said:

I understand tape culture and thus understand tape nostalgia, but it is truly laughable anyone might suggest a cassette resurgence.

Hipsters gonna hipster, innit.

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I get that this isn't the crux of the issue affecting CD sales - digital/streaming win the war due to convenience factor - but I never understood why CD prices never came down once sales started declining. I was in barnes & noble over the summer picking up a book, and decided to wander over to what's left of the CD section in the store. I was surprised to see CD's still with $14.99 price tags on them. why on earth would someone pay more for a less convenient product, when they can click a few buttons and have it right away for cheaper? let me also say that I suppose am targeting mainstream music collectors with this question, as I know just about anyone who posts here still buying CD's values the medium (i.e. collecting something).

I remember when best buy first started back in the '90s. one of the biggest draws was that they offered much cheaper CD's than sound warehouse, sam goody, etc., and being able to get a CD for $9 or $10 vs. $17.99 (or more) was a big factor for my teenage self being able to buy more music. then again, there wasn't digital back then...

IMO once CD sales started declining, there should have been an industry wide decision to lower them to $7.99 or so. that's of course lower that most digital albums, which are usually $9/$10. I mean it's not only the music companies/artists with a say in the matter, there are all the manufacturing companies that produce the CD's, packaging, printing, etc., and they should have come together in order to try and do something if they really wanted to give it a go to save CD's. but realistically, I guess they were just trying to figure out how to jump ship over to the digital/streaming game.

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Just to clarify for anyone looking back on cassettes through rose colored glasses.  Cassettes were cool in the same way that a tricked out Ford Fiesta was cool.  No one ever aspired to a Ford Fiesta.  For many, the choice was no car or Ford Fiesta.  They chose Fiesta and then made it cool by modding it.  But given the chance they would have happily, eagerly taken something better to begin with.

 

And the same is true for cassettes.  Given the choice of no portable music or cassette, many chose cassette.  And then they made that lame ass format cool by developing tape culture and such.  But better portable formats are availably now, much better, Ferrari to that Fiesta better, and thus there is no need to ever bother with that lame as format again.

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Unless you really like the look of those tricked out Fiestas.

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7 minutes ago, Gocab said:

Unless you really like the look of those tricked out Fiestas.

Rose colored glasses, mate.  It's the same with Trabant nostalgia.

 

Edit: A tricked out Peugot 205 looks better.  Heck a factory 205 looks better than a tricked out Fiesta.

Edited by tailings

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Just so there is misunderstanding, we are both referring to the 1980's Fiesta, which is coincident with cassette culture, right?  Modern Fiestas are cute little cars, if you go in for that cute/aggressive styling that is in fashion at the moment.  But then again, modern Fiestas aren't the dirt cheap metal buckets they used to be, and so no longer fill that place of no car or Fiesta.  Not sure what the modern equivalent might be, early '00 Camry/Accord?

Edited by tailings
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4 minutes ago, Tim_J said:

Bring laser disc back pls

I never understood why the format wasn't improved/updated.  A platter that size with the data density of DVD/Blue Ray could hold entire seasons of television on one disc.  

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1 minute ago, tailings said:

I never understood why the format wasn't improved/updated.  A platter that size with the data density of DVD/Blue Ray could hold entire seasons of television on one disc.  

i don't believe it was actual digital

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4 hours ago, species8472 said:

i don't believe it was actual digital

Laserdisc was analogue.

Plus, you said it yourself as to why they didn't do this:

4 hours ago, tailings said:

A platter that size with the data density of DVD/Blue Ray could hold entire seasons of television on one disc.  

Why sell one disc with an entire series when you can sell x amount of disc for as much as one disc.

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:38 PM, Quiet penis said:

I'm shocked people are still buying CDs

You can sometimes find used CDs all much lower prices than online dowloads.  Simply rip the CD and you've got a great deal on some tunes.

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2 hours ago, drillkicker said:

You can sometimes find used CDs all much lower prices than online dowloads.  Simply rip the CD and you've got a great deal on some tunes.

YES!!  But also, ssshhhhhh.......

 

For several years now I find I am often the only person flipping through the CD bins at my favorite local record store.  Even when the store is busy with dozens of customers I would be alone at the CD bins while everyone else agonized over which >1< album to drop their $30 on.  Meanwhile, I'd typically leave with a stack of 6-8 CDs for the same price.

 

(All pre-covid.  It's hard to believe it's been over six months since I was last at End of an Ear......)

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12 hours ago, tailings said:

Just to clarify for anyone looking back on cassettes through rose colored glasses.  Cassettes were cool in the same way that a tricked out Ford Fiesta was cool.  No one ever aspired to a Ford Fiesta.  For many, the choice was no car or Ford Fiesta.  They chose Fiesta and then made it cool by modding it.  But given the chance they would have happily, eagerly taken something better to begin with.

 

And the same is true for cassettes.  Given the choice of no portable music or cassette, many chose cassette.  And then they made that lame ass format cool by developing tape culture and such.  But better portable formats are availably now, much better, Ferrari to that Fiesta better, and thus there is no need to ever bother with that lame as format again.

No, tape can do things that are hard to do digitally, if you make music. Tape is of use.

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22 minutes ago, dingformung said:

No, tape can do things that are hard to do digitally, if you make music. Tape is of use.

Did you see my comment above about popcorn?  Yes, tape can be used creatively.  That doesn't mean cassettes are a good format for prerecorded music.  Different applications of the same technology.

 

A mixtape can be considered an enduser product, like a prerecorded cassette, which now has better alternatives in the digital world.

 

No argument that tape has use in the studio as a creative tool.  Again, that's a different use case.

Edited by tailings
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Tape is an acceptable medium for certain styles, especially for DIY labels / artists.  If you produce noise / lo-fi stuff and you don't worry about the 0's and 1's too much then its fine.

Its the same reason that people still buy zines - one person can make it from start to finish and release something themselves very easily with little in the way of expensive equipment.

I'm working on a split cassette release with a guy from USA - once we have settled on the artwork we can each produce the tapes and sell copies separately (as well as digitally of course).

 

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Tapes never went away within certain DIY scenes, particularly lo-fi ones like noise and black metal. For reasons that I still don't quite understand, the new age / Berlin-School synth arps revival sound grew out of the noise scene in the mid '00s - OPN, Emeralds, Pulse Emitter - and became popular enough to gain more attention outside of the scene, which gave the noise tape scene a bigger audience, and it grew from there. If you want an analogue format - CDs had really begun to go out of fashion at this point - then it's a cheap alternative to vinyl, which is where the popularity came from. Then, as with just about all things underground and a bit 'different', it got some attention from the mainstream and thus the cassette 'revival' came around. But it was born out of genuine love for the format, from people who never stopped using it. There's definitely a hipsterism around it now, but it wasn't always like that.

And there are people who started getting into music in the '00s for whom the cassette is simply the format that a lot of their favourite music is released on. With literally thousands of DIY tape-only labels out there now, particularly after the rise of vaporwave, there are people who mostly know tapes as the physical format. So it definitely isn't all rose-tinted glasses or hipsterism that surrounds the format. I've released lots of tapes; mostly because tape labels seem to be happier taking risks than CD labels these days, but I do quite like them aesthetically, that they're little pocket-sized things with the booklet all folded away inside. 

edit: worth noting that, in Europe at least, it's more expensive to get 100 tapes professionally dubbed than getting 100 CDs made these days. 

Edited by purlieu
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