Are CDs Dead?

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I’m amazed whenever I read of the CD format as “dead”. MP3 format recordings are an appalling way to listen to any music, I hardly need say here. And even if an iPod or equivalent took full frequency files, the thought of consigning a lifetime’s collecting to a device which I might accidentally drop in my coffee, or just lose never to be recovered, makes me shudder. Don’t get me started on downloads either – I’ve never had a CD fail on me yet but I must have got through two or three computer hard drives in my time.

I have CDs which are nearly twenty years old; LPs which are 50 years old; and 78s which are 80 years old. They all still function; in two out of the three cases with better results than iPod downloads. What archived collection of recordings will the iPod generation have to call on, after the device gets trodden on or the computer hard-drive packs up?

Sadly they probably won’t see the need to collect or save recordings, such is the ephemeral lifestyle which now seems to be fashionable.

It’s one of the many ways the recording industry tries to sell you stuff. Soon the iPod will be “dead” and you won’t need to be bothered you didn’t go out and buy one.

The big move was from analogue to digital. That was and remains the only significant choice to make. All else is just a choice of which carrier you prefer.

I have no interest in paying for downloads. To me it’s like taping off the radio which I did for over 20 years.

If I’m going to part with money I prefer a professionally-made CD with attractively-printed documentation and pictures. To a collector that is part of the pleasure, as we see with the growing appreciation for old LP cover artwork. Some of the sleeve notes were very well-written too, by quite distinguished experts in music.

Mention of my collection of recordings in three formats – 78s, LPs and CDs – reminded me that I had not included my cassettes. Many of these are broadcasts from the 70s, including many Proms, and would be impossible to replace now.

However, my Nakamichi cassette player is faulty and parts seem hard to come by. New machines don’t seem to exist, so there’s a danger of all this music being lost. It certainly seems that this will be the format which disappears before the other three.

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