The CD is dead...

Just a quick doodle at the moment. Thinking of taking it further!

I can't even remember the last time I purchased a CD. I can remember my first vinyl record though. 1978, Night Fever by the Bee Gees. Please don't hold that against me, it was astounding at the time, although I couldn't see the film Saturday Night Fever until it was shown on TV some years later. I was 9 at the time and way more interested in the Atari 2600 VCS than I was in music. I became a Space Invaders master, all those 10 pences I put into the arcade machine would have certainly bought me an original Renoir, had I have just known better. My ears have now matured.

Record companies have insisted that streaming is not ruining their sales. Well, I disagree, and have done for a couple of years. All of the music I purchase these days is from iTunes. It's just way more convenient and much more portable. I have an iPhone dock in the car, I carry my phone in my pocket, I rarely get the time to sit in the house and listen. It has to be portable.

For the first time ever, streaming sales have overtaken those of CD's. A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America shows that streaming outlets generated $1.87 billion in 2014—while CD sales fell to $1.85 billion. This really doesn't come as a great shock. Essentially streaming music and downloads have killed off a format.

Streaming musics edge is only slightly below permanent downloads, but there is a dark horse in the game, vinyl. Vinyl is making a comeback and even amongst the demographic of people who are most likely to use downloads as a first choice. The Wall Street Journal has called it the biggest music comeback of 2014, and from where I'm sitting I can see that this continues to be the case in 2015. I've noticed a few more independent record shops spring up in local high streets, and there's a reason for this. Vinyl just sounds better.

The issue for me is that vinyl will never be portable. It's not something you can play in the car to psych you up on the way to the office. For that, you either listen to a radio station playing lyrics which resemble a conversation with Rain Man, or you play a CD, but then have to change it when you get caught in a traffic jam, or you set up a playlist that lasts for about three times longer than the journey will ever take.

The problem with the playlist is that there will be one or two tracks out of the hundred or so that you thought you liked, and these will be set on a loop for long enough to let you learn the words and then drive along miming, until you reach the traffic lights where you will look like some middle aged fool. Totally forgetting that the outside world will be judging you like you were on the X-Factor, whenever you stop, even very briefly. However good you think you sound, you don't.

So the CD is in its final throws. Streaming will eventually reach all new cars, and the way we listen to music will change. Will it take long? My guess is that the next 10 years will be one of transition. A transition from physical media, to a place in time where it will not matter where we are, we will have some sort of interwebby connectivity in cars, and a whole new market of impulse purchases for music will be made on the move. It's exactly this convenience that will change the way we listen in the future. My only hope is that someone figures out just how we can get the deep, rich tones of vinyl on the move.

Will this mean that the more digitally attached people are, the more they will open up to other digital mediums? More importantly for me and many others who create on a digital platform, is this something that will eventually make people more open to the idea of owning digital art? A time when that classic from the modern masters will be carried on a USB stick? I doubt it very much. Listening to digital is one thing, but you really do need some tactile and visual response to art, that you just won't get when carrying a USB stick.

Not to say that acceptance of digital art won't grow. Im certain that it will. It will still need to be printed, and you will still get the visual and tactile stimulation, but just as it is being proven with vinyl records, traditional art is set to stay and I think it will be a long time before digital creations reach their peak. Maybe now's the time to get creative on the digital art scene. In one hundred years that USB stick of a digital abstract might be seen as something equivalent to how we see early masters paintings now?

What do you think will happen to digital art in the future? Will now ever be seen as that time when the early digital artists are seen in the same way as those artists during the Renaissance period are? Thoughts and comments as ever, always welcome!

Just as an aside, if you have a blog or just have something great to say about the art scene, I am now inviting guest posts to appear on this site. Feel free to get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of this page if you want to participate!

Have a Great Day and stopover and visit my new site which is separate to the bog!




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