Phasing out of Compact Disc


So just this week my wife and I pre-ordered the new Melody Gardot and Florence and the Machine, $33 and $29 respectively on Amazon. There's absoluetly no reason for these prices, and we've never seen anything like this before. These aren't imports or high res files. Talk in the streets is that this is the beginning of the end of physical media. Of course it will be around like vinyl. Thoughts?
donjr
It's an import. The cd will be released in the USA on June 9, 2015. Cancel your order and get it on or after that date. I guarantee that it will be at a regular price.
In some cases, imports are of higher sound quality and may be laid down with higher-rez masters; results vary but often research into what the imports are versus the domestic release may be worth the trouble and either save you money or confirm that buying the import is best move. Case in point, Gardot's last album, "The Absence" had a high priced import option available from Japan so I ordered both the import and the US version. Like the prior Gardot album, the US version of the 2nd was of very good sound quality. The surprise (at least for me) came when I received the import version of the second album; I found higher playback quality (Japanese imports tend to utilize higher quality CD blanks and have higher attention to detail in the cutting process IMHO), this was an SHM-CD, AND HAD a bonus track at the end (WILLOW) that does not seem to be present on any other version of the album. WILLOW for audio demo purposes is worth the price of the entire album in my opinion...

FWIW,...don't think CDs are going anywhere anytime soon; they seem to be going the way of SACDs and LP in that audiophile-level of recordings are continuing to be produced on CD, XRCD24, SHM-CD, SHM SACD, and SACD releases...
Talk on the street? You're kidding, right? Did you speak to the man under the bridge?
My wife didn't realize it was an import. I just checked and yes, it is. I'm going to keep it as I have found many times in the past that as Zephyr mentioned, the imports are usually better sq.
Yeah the cd is not going anywhere anytime soon. There are some many cheap used cds on amazon. Sometimes you pay more for the shipping then the cd. I use the ps audio perfect wave transport with a wyred4sound dac and it sounds incredible. I have no desire to go to computer audio now or in the future.
CD's won't go away with a whisper or like a thief in the night. Like all changes that'll not likely be well received by everyone it will be a sudden announcement made unilaterally (by the powers that be) - and Then everybody will scream the sky is falling...
Vinyl was only forced out when the industry forced us to buy cds. If cds ever go away it will only be because the industry forces them out, and I don't see that happening any time soon.
During the 1990s vinyl was dead , buried and gone to some with the promise of a digital revolution , 25 years later it's rumoured the compact disk is going to be dead and unavailable very soon , HI Res down loads are the new digital revolution with some claiming , there are no better sonic reproduction available ,...........Really ,...!
Donjr-

there is no such thing. The CD is not going away anytime soon. Further, this medium will never be replaced w/ any stream nor download.

Vinyl has not met it's demise and neither will the compact disc! Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Vinyl has meet its demise? Don't think so....read an interesting statistic that over 73 MILLION records were pressed in 2014. Doesn't sound like a dead media platform to me, not mainstream, but certainly not dead; the quality of the pressings available according to my vinyl-loving friends is increasing dramatically too.

CD/SACDs won't go away completely anytime soon either...
CD sales peaked at about a billion units in 2000. The last data I saw (2013) showed that it was the latest of a dozen straight years of declining sales, bottoming out at +/- 200 million units. Since 2010, the avg annual decline has been small, so it appears that CD sales aren't really being "phased out", they're just slowly dying off. At what point do "major labels" stop releasing CDs altogether? Does it matter? It's pretty clearly a dying format.

I don't have data from the 1960's, but, by comparison, in the '70s, LP sales peaked at +/- 200 million units. Obviously, that was a smaller (unit) market for recorded music than we have today. Contrary to what many here seem to believe, however, the LP was not "killed off" by CD, it was killed off by cassettes, which displaced LP sales at basically a 1 for 1 rate up to 1985. Then CD joined the party and LPs essentially disappeared as a meaningful piece of the market.

As a practical matter, LP is still dead. Unit sales might make up 1% of the market and dollar sales might be 1.5 to 2%.

Martykl, thank you for a very informative post.

Enjoy the music.
Within just 6 months after the initial introduction of the CD in 1982, 50% of the existing LP manufacturing plants in North America had closed their doors - and they had done so at a time when CD sales still made up only a small fraction of the remaining music media sales. More LP closures were to follow after that. Apparently the LP did not die because of "sales" actually, but because of a calculated decision to shut LP production down, having the effect of giving the masses no real alternative but to switch to CD's.

The unanswered question in my mind has been whether or not the early shut downs (in the face of the still rather large LP share of the market at the time) had become, in fact, largely contractual? Or was it simply a result of the industry "come-to-Jesus" meeting that undoubtedly would've occurred before and as the CD was being launched (and the LP manufacturers simply saw the writing on the wall and *voluntarily* closed their doors in the face of expectations of plummeting sales and mounting [internal] industry hype).

But, I am curious as to why so many LP makers caved as early as they did. Were they paid or compensated to close their doors when they did?...in order to facilitate a speedy changeover to CD that otherwise, were it left to be sales driven in a free market, might have dragged out longer than industry backers of CD might have been financially willing to accept?

Can I get a "kickback" here??

Might there be similar deals brewing behind closed doors now in respect to downloads or streaming? I'm thinking yes, but we'll see. Happy listening.
The real victim in all this was audio cassettes, which if you'll pardon me for saying so are more musical and more dynamic than either LP or CD. By the end of the cassette era the frequency response was quite good, good enough considering how inherent musical and dynamic they are. No medium is perfect, but cassettes are the closest to real music in my opinion. Tape is a natural medium. It breathes.
"Tape is a natural medium. It breathes."

Some would call that hiss/noise.
Ivan,

I don't know the contractual dynamics behind the decisions to shut LP production facilities in 1982/1983, but I do know that LP sales had been essentially flat for a decade by that time. Over the course of that same 10 year period, cassette sales went from less than 10% of the market to more than 50% of the market (units sold, long play capacity). Given the pending introduction of another "playback only" format (cd), it's easy to see why the record companies would shift resources to CD production. The opportunity to resell the catalog in the new format was surely compelling, but it doesn't change the fact that LP sales were long stagnant when the changeover occurred and that cassette sales were growing rapidly. I'd still characterize the dynamic as cassettes killing LP and CD killing cassettes (especially once CD gained usable recording capability in the early 1990s).
I, too, think the cassette format (as it existed in from the late 70's to the mid 80's) was vastly underrated. It's just that I never met a prerecorded cassette that I liked, and you have to have a format you can record from (besides radio).

Martykl,

"I don't know the contractual dynamics behind the decisions to shut LP production facilities in 1982/1983, but I do know that LP sales had been essentially flat for a decade by that time. Over the course of that same 10 year period, cassette sales went from less than 10% of the market to more than 50% of the market (units sold, long play capacity)".

Agreed, certainly.

"The opportunity to resell the catalog in the new format was surely compelling...".

Could be...but I'm not so sure. We take it for granted any more that such a formula is tried and true, however at the time it may have seemed a little more risky to those involved, than today. What if it flopped?..and all that. I even suspect that the more record plants that closed early on the more incentive was created for the remaining ones to stay open and play for the money that they believed was left on the table as a result, but that's just a suspicion of mine.

"I'd still characterize the dynamic as cassettes killing LP and CD killing cassettes (especially once CD gained usable recording capability in the early 1990s)".

I'd say all that had to be a contributing factor...however, due to copyright problems, CD recording actually never got off the ground sales-wise and still hasn't...but, if I recall, the perception, at least, that it would allow users to make "perfect" copies was in the air in those days.
Political economy - a calculated decision to shut LP production down? Where did it come from? I don't think the casette was such a big factor here in Europe. Could it be, mainly, that the world went slightly mad, buying into the hype of the CD and the digital medium?
I mean, I did so myself. I was a great enthusiast of the "PC revolution" in the 80s, and became a programmer at my spare time. I thought, a bit is a bit. I had recorded analog, on a Revox A77, for twenty years - but I now thought, digital is the way to do it, and bought DAT recorders. Digital means perfect! I was under the spell.
Happily I also invested in a better analog system - and discovered my errors.
O_holter, yeah, I suppose it's possible I could be nuts on all that, but I just haven't come across anything that I could say that fits the facts any better for me, so far anyway. But, that sort of thing is fairly typical of big money. (Rush fans remember that song??)

I do remember my first CD player: a 2nd-generation Pioneer 6-disc changer in '83. All the magazine articles I'd been reading had been shouting: "Do CD's sound better than vinyl, or worse?" and never really seemed to pick a side. Excited and eager to unwrap and take my first listen, it took all of about 5 seconds to realize in my mind that it was all apparently a pretty sad joke, Lol. And I recall my vinyl rig at the time (also a Pioneer), with cartridge, weighed in at about $250. But, somehow I decided to be a trooper and carry on...maybe someday they would improve things with it. Very recently I believe I've now persisted in getting CD to sound as good as, or even better in most ways, to vinyl (not without a Ton of electronic noise reduction, though)...but, that has only taken me, what?...about 30 years?...Lol!
Thanks Ivan - political economy and music is interesting. Nuts? No not at all. And - I respect differerent ways to get good sound. The CD was not all bad. It was bad only from a certain cut point and upwards in the existing audio systems / consumer market / class- and status-divided society. If you were below that cut point, the CD did sound 'objectively' good. For example, if you had a $250 analog rig - or even a 1250 rig. What happened was, this cut point gradually went up, and for those below, the CD really was a good thing. First, in the 1990s, analog specialists (like Lyra) learned how to go beyond the digital sound. Next, in the 2000s, how to make this better sound for less money. Thats why the vinyl market has a rebirth. If you factor in Michael Fremer, this causal model should be just about 99 percent right!! :-) Enjoy your music!
By the time CDs came out, I already had a sizeable record collection. I was the first on the block to buy a CD player. It was one of those Phillips top loaders. I quickly learned that Sony's claim of "Perfect sound forever" was a joke. As more people jumped on the CD bandwagon, some of my friends and I started cleaning up at garage sales buying up as many good LPs that we could get our hands on. I bought out entire collections for ten-cents each to fifty cents each. And I'm talking about really good mint classical, jazz and classic rock. I'll never forget the one guy (a Brit) saying, as I was walking out of his house with 300 classical albums, all import pressings that I just paid him a dollar apiece for: "I don't know why you would want records anymore when we have these great sounding CD players." I told him I was too poor to be able to afford a CD player. *lol* I was thinking ... "thanks for the EMI's, the imported RCA's and the Telefunkens. All found a good home.