The Analog Kid

CBC reports that the CD is not dead yet, because records execs are trying to keep whole album sales alive by any means necessary:

CD sales were boosted this year by a trend that saw some concert tickets for big arena shows — including tours by Arcade Fire, Shania Twain and Pink — bundled with a copy of the band or artist’s latest album.

Many concertgoers were offered the choice between a digital download or a CD sent through the mail. Whether those CDs were ever unwrapped is anybody’s guess, but each ticket sale helped rocket those performers to the top of the album charts in their first week of sales.

Preliminary numbers from Nielsen Music Canada show that while CD sales fell 18 per cent over the past year, still selling roughly 10 million units, they were relatively strong compared to the more dramatic erosion of digital album sales through stores like iTunes.

Digital album sales tumbled nearly 25 per cent for the year to 6.2 million units, extending what is expected to be a steep downturn as more listeners embrace streaming services.

David Bakula, who oversees Nielsen’s industry insights operations, said the changes in digital habits mean the CD is representing a larger share of the declining album sales market.

He believes that writing the obituary for the CD is premature as labels look to bolster album sales however they can, while older listeners stick to their usual buying habits.

“We’re not seeing this flight from the format,” he added.

Walmart also dramatically scaled back its CD selection while fellow retail giant Best Buy recently scrubbed music from its stores entirely.

All of this certainly hasn’t boded well for boosting sales figures, but music historian Alan Cross is confident record labels will follow the dollar.

“If they can’t get people into the store to buy a CD, well then (they’ll) just send the CDs directly to them, whether they want it or not,” he said, pointing to expectations that the success of ticket bundles will only lead to other artists experimenting with the strategy.

“By nature a lot of music fans are collectors and that means they need a physical thing to collect.”

It’s possible an established act like Bruce Springsteen or the Rolling Stones could try to up the ante by pairing scarce concert seats with an exclusive CD box set.

2 thoughts on “The Analog Kid

  1. Not to be the old guy (which I am) curmudgeon Luddite…but I much prefer hard copy Cds to digital streaming. And while vinyl has aesthetic and sentimental memories for me…I have become the champion of the compact disc. I hope they do make a comeback.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Dahlke

    I read your blog entry with interest as I sit here (another old guy) on the last day of 2017 ripping my way through a stack of 25 recently purchased CDs. I still seek out CDs for the music that I like wherever possible and will continue to do so as long as I have the ability to do so. Like Mr. Watson above, record albums are still a sentimental weakness and I have a large and also still growing collection of vinyl albums that provide that connection to the rituals of my youth, but with whose fussiness I grow mildly irritated by the limitations of the medium – having to haul myself off of the couch to flip the album just when I’ve gotten into that contemplative listening state. Enjoymentus interruptus?

    Long live the CD!

    Liked by 1 person


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