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Will music CDs be dead in 14 months?

A report predicts the demise of the compact disc; Billboard says no way.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
2 min read
Will we know the music industry by the trail of dead (music formats) left behind? Interscope

There's a new 2012 doomsday prophecy out there. The world might survive the end of the Mayan calendar, but compact discs might not be so lucky.

A report from Side-Line cites a number of anonymous music industry insiders who confirmed to the music magazine that the major labels are planning to stop pressing new CDs by the end of next year, if not sooner.

The issue, the argument goes, is that CDs cost money to create, store, and distribute and shifting to all-digital distribution will free up more resources for marketing and other parts of the business.

There is one problem with the notion of killing the CD, however. Labels are still making money off of them.

Billboard's Glenn Peoples calls the reports of the CD's demise "dubious."

"Record labels have shown no desire to ditch the CD," Peoples writes. "The format still accounts for most sales revenue, and labels have been able to encourage the development of new digital business models while enjoying--not relying on--the considerable revenue CD sales provide."

Peoples adds that he expects the CD will continue to die a "slow, graceful death."

A new report from Gartner also sees the CD slowly withering away, but continuing to do billions of dollars in sales on its way out the door. Gartner sees digital download and subscription services eating away at the CD's dominance, but predicts that CD and LP sales will still amount to $10 billion in 2015, with online music revenue making a big jump but still trailing physical media with a projected $7.7 billion.

I may not always understand the thought process of the major music labels, but I do feel sure that they enjoy making money enough not to kill their major money-maker. So there may be no need to cross that Katy Perry "Greatest Hits" CD off your shopping list for Christmas 2015 just yet.