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2012 Could Apparently Be The End Of Days…For CDs

We have heard some news tonight that has sent us into a rage/depression spiral. Apparently, the major labels have decided to put an end to CD production by the end of 2012, possibly sooner. They will still keep fancy, expensive special editions, which is a mystery as only hardcore collectors purchase those now. A world without CD’s is not a world we want to live in, maybe it’s best that it’s scheduled to end next year after all.

Let us preface this rant by explaining something. We FUCKING LOVE music. Our T.V. and film passion is a little more all-consuming at the moment, but our entire friendship was built on a mutual love of rock and roll. Together we have seen approximately 550 bands ranging from local troubadours to worldwide sensations. We have no idea how much of our money has gone into collecting CD’s, buying concert tickets, and travel to and from music festivals all over North America.

We’ve been alive for a lot of changes in technology and we remember when the CD first came out. Oh boy was it exciting. Gone were the days of rewind, stop, play, rewind some more, stop, play, fast forward, stop etc… You would never have to wind the tape back into your cassette again. Not to mention, you wouldn’t have to listen to five songs, get up, flip it over and listen to the rest. It was new and shiny and easy.

Buying a CD was like a coming-of-age ritual for both of us. We both remember going out with our mom’s to purchase our first ever CD player and our first CDs. (Now, there is no way we are going to divulge what those CDs were, we have a reputation to uphold here) It was like upgrading from Barbie dolls to wearing makeup and talking about boys. It was the first time we got to choose the music we listened to, we could close our doors, crank the volume, push repeat and shut out the world.

As we got older our love affair with CDs grew as our musical tastes developed into the music snobs that we are today. Purchasing a CD became more about owning a piece of art rather than just consuming the sounds captured on the disc. The most exciting part of getting a new CD was ripping into that impossible plastic coating and extracting the cover booklet while listening to the new songs. It was about reading the liner notes, learning the lyrics and having the physical thing in your hands. We can’t be the only people out there that remember how mind-blowing the cover art for Tool’s ‘Lateralus’ was! The visuals were part of the package, more value for your money.

Towards the end of high school, another huge transition happened in our lives – and we’re not talking about graduating. All of a sudden there was non-stop chatter about something called Napster. This was when our paths stopped following the same route. Andrea wholeheartedly embraced it, while Whitney took her usual stance of “change is bad”.

Whitney – the collector that she is – had spent a good portion of her high school years tracking down rare and coveted Oasis songs on bootlegged CDs from all over the world. It was the thrill of the chase that she loved. It was also the bragging rights when it arrived from Japan and she and only she has access to those songs. She believed that the more effort you put in to finding these things the more satisfying it was to have. When Napster went global, anyone with a computer could type in ‘Sad Song’ and have it downloaded to their hard drive in minutes. It took the exclusivity out of it.

Andrea – on the other hand – fell in love at first ‘site’. She loved the fact that she now had access to music that she may never have heard before. She loved the effort it took to search out those never-before-heard-of bands and songs. She liked the instant gratification of being able to think of a song, type it in, and in a matter of moments have it. Because of the ease in finding new music to listen to, she ended up buying more CDs than at any other point in her life before – or since.

Napster represented the beginning of the end for CDs. For the last 12 years people have been talking about the demise of the CD, but never has there been a definitive date put on it. It’s been a lot of speculation and hearsay up until now. It’s like looking at a carton of milk’s expiry date.

The major labels love to talk about how CDs aren’t giving people the value they want for their money – and we completely disagree. With a CD you are paying $13 for 13 songs plus you are receiving a visual reminder of what was going on in your life when you bought it. Not only are you paying for the musician’s time and effort and creativity to create the music, but also their decision on what artist to use for the cover and how to best represent their vision; you’re buying a snapshot of that moment in THEIR lives as well as your own.

Aside from the abstract representation of what a CD is, in it’s most basic form, at least it is an actual physical object. You can touch it, display it, collect it and show it off. An mp3 doesn’t physical exist. It’s a file floating around in cyberspace. They are essentially selling ghosts. When major labels talk about the value of mp3’s they are really talking about profit for themselves.

Our hope for the future is that all the indie bands at the shitty bar up the street will still sell CDs at their concerts. We hope that teenage boys will never have to utter the words “Hey baby, here’s a jump drive with some songs I downloaded for you.” to the girls they secretly like. We hope the collectors of the world will never be satisfied to hide their collection in a hard drive.

Sadly, the music industry seems to have stopped being about creativity and expression and is only concerned with the final transaction.

For More Information:

CD-format to be abandoned by major labels by the end of 2012 – www.side-line.com

Will the CD be Phased Out by the End of 2012 – www.alancross.ca

R.I.P. Compact Discs – www.perezhilton.com

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About surlygurls

We’re two SurlyGurls brought together by a love of all things awesome and an equal hate of all things which are an affront to awesomeness everywhere.

Posted on November 2, 2011, in CANCELLATIONS, MUSIC, OPINION and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I didn’t know about this. This is terrible news. I know CD sales are down, but seriously?! This makes me want to go to HMV right now and buy up all the CDs that I have been wanting……I am a bit old-fashioned – I love buying books and CDs and the thought of NOT being ABLE to buy a CD is very discouraging!!! I don’t download music, because I have yet to find a good, legal downloading site that is not “iTunes”…and even if there was one, I still prefer to buy the CDs because I want the PHYSICAL package with liner notes, artwork, and lyrics! It’s like buying art from an artist…it is just not the same when it comes in he form little tiny bits of digital information!!!
    Additionally, If I buy the CD I can share it with others, make copies (digital or otherwise), give it to someone else as a gift, put it in a collection, play it in anyone’s CD player or car, and have very easy access to it all the time. You can’t do all that with a digital file!!!

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