Lion of the Blogosphere

Vinyl records to outsell CDs in 2020

The resurgence of vinyl is interesting, but in reality listening to vinyl records is a niche hobby, just a more popular niche hobby than it was ten years ago. The bigger story is the total collapse of CD sales (which unlike vinyl has no romance associated with it). We are reaching the end of buying music to own it. Spotify has more revenue per year than CD, Vinyl and MP3 download purchases combined.

Now what do I do with all those useless CDs I have that I spent in total about two thousand dollars on? (I’ve thrown a lot in the garbage after “ripping” them to mp3 files, but that’s actually kind of time consuming. Probably, anything I haven’t listened to in more than 10 years is a CD I don’t really need to rip, I should just throw it out.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2019 at 10:57 AM

Posted in Technology

58 Responses

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  1. Maybe one day they’ll become collector’s items.

    gothamette

    December 27, 2019 at 11:04 AM

    • 8-track tapes haven’t become collectors items. Also, I’m afraid that the technology to read CDs will disappear in another ten to twenty years, unless you think that Blu-ray will be forever (with Blu-ray readers being backwards compatible with DVDs and CDs).

      Currently, there is no one manufacturing VCRs or 8-track tape players, players for other physical media will follow.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 27, 2019 at 11:07 AM

      • Stand-alone CD/DVD/BD players might disappear, but optical drives will be available for PCs for a very long time.

        You can still buy an external 3.5″ floppy drive for $12 on Amazon and get it shipped to you Prime. Software stopped being packaged on these in the mid 90s, though I know people still used them to move files around until some time in the early-to-mid 00s, when USB flash drives + ubiquitous Internet + small capacity finally rendered them entirely obsolete. So the floppy’s heyday is roughly 30 years behind us, and its swan song is approaching 20 years behind us, and it’s still widely available and cheap.

        If you put all forms of optical media together, they should have a much longer life (due to a much larger inventory) than 3.5″ floppies. Video games, albums, and movies are still shipping on them in 2019 and will probably do so for at least 5 more years in the US, perhaps longer in other countries. So it’ll be the 2040s or 2050s before they are where floppy disks are today.

        Wency

        December 27, 2019 at 1:49 PM

      • 5.25″ floppy drives are no longer being manufactured. In the not-too-distant future, 3.5″ drives will also stop being manufactured.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 27, 2019 at 2:02 PM

      • @Lion:

        Agree with all that, but my point stands. Barring some major civilizational disruption, we’ll be old, possibly dead before there’s a serious risk of optical media drives not being manufactured as at least a niche product.

        Wency

        December 27, 2019 at 2:30 PM

      • I used iTunes match for my CDs. iTunes finds the music in its vast library and makes it available to you as though you had bought it. There is small annual cost ($25 or so). It’s fast and easy.

        You don’t get the cover art (at least, I couldn’t despite following the instructions.)

        I kept the CDs, though. But I pared down the collection considerably.

        Frau Katze

        December 28, 2019 at 10:12 PM

  2. The hoarding of CDs is definitely prole in this day of age, when all media has migrated online.

    Why do a segment of weirdoos collect LPs? The sleeves are seen as a significant paper item in a similar vein like books, comic books and other collectible paper. Furthermore, audiophiles are convinced that there is an organic sound to vinyl when played on a high end turntable.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    December 27, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    • Vinyl definitely produces a richer, more luxuriant sound than digital, but most people don’t care.

      Another Dave

      December 27, 2019 at 1:20 PM

      • I find that hard to believe, unless constant crackles, popping, and skips are somehow more luxuriant.

        Mike Street Station

        December 28, 2019 at 8:45 AM

      • A professional violinist told me he could tell the difference and wouldn’t listen to CDs because they “dulled” the sound. He had tons of vinyls in pristine condition.

        gothamette

        December 28, 2019 at 11:59 AM

    • I agree about the sleeves, but in addition, vinyl records are just kind of a cool technology. You put the needle on the record, you see it spin, and music comes out. If you mess with the record, you’ll get something different. It’s related to why people enjoy seeing live music — it’s enjoyable just to watch musicians produce the sound. Vinyl gives you a sort of home version of this.

      I have a friend whose 16-year-old daughter (cute, not especially nerdy) has started collecting LPs. I think it’s much more for this appeal than any kind of audiophile geekiness. None of the other physical music formats offer anything like it. They’re all just crappier, less convenient versions of Spotify, and she has no interest in them.

      Wency

      December 27, 2019 at 2:20 PM

      • I’ve never seen a female thump through a collection of LPs in a record store. Never in my life. It’s like going to comic book section or a worse, an actual comic geek store and seeing a girl rummaging through the shelves and sections of comic books.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 27, 2019 at 5:19 PM

      • I’ve known two cute HS girls who were into comics. One from my own high school, and one a friend’s daughter (different friend from the LP collector).

        I think these are both male-leaning hobbies but not the most male-leaning. Women are passionate about music, plenty of women enjoy the Marvel films, so some percentage will be into those more niche things. Hell, the last time I went to an LP store (which I just did as a lark maybe a year ago) the store owner was a woman and was clearly a collector.

        The most male-leaning nerd hobby, by far, is wargaming. It wouldn’t surprise me if literally zero women in the world were passionate about wargames. Comics and LPs are not like that.

        Wency

        December 28, 2019 at 11:52 AM

      • Although pretty much a dead hobby on main st, baseball card collecting would be an exclusive male thing.

        There was once a shop in NYC which would cater to all male fantasies. It sold collectible toy figures, video games and gaming systems, comic books, LPs, baseball cards and porno mags sealed in plastic. A total dream for losers who couldn’t find meaning in other arenas of life like getting laid. The nice thing about this place was that it smelled of bubble gum coming from boxes and boxes of baseball cards.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 28, 2019 at 8:44 PM

      • People don’t collect or hoard for monetary reasons like one does with financial investments.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_collecting

        It’s all emotional which provides a sense of security and meaning in an otherwise meaningless world.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 28, 2019 at 9:19 PM

      • “The most male-leaning nerd hobby, by far, is wargaming. It wouldn’t surprise me if literally zero women in the world were passionate about wargames. Comics and LPs are not like that.”

        There is at least one, and she’s naturally angry about it.

        Mike Street Station

        December 29, 2019 at 8:06 AM

    • If there’s music you really like I suggest getting and keeping CDs. There’s tons of stuff I want to hear that’s not on spotify. It’s way more limited than people realize. The average person probably just thinks if it’s not on Spotify it doesn’t exist. I mean, just the other week I was looking for a classical guitar album I once owned and really liked, and you can’t buy the CD and you can’t stream it anywhere.

      There are some movies on DVDs I wish I had bought because they’re basically unavailable now. Netflix back when it was mailed DVDs was awesome for having absolutely everything. Then that ended and now it’s a really lame selection and tons of movies are basically impossible to get legally.

      Probably Spotify will fold or be restructured and in 15 years all streamed music will be Taylor Swift. The only streamed movies you will be allowed to watch will be Star Wars.

      bobbybobbob

      December 27, 2019 at 11:07 PM

      • I’d like blather here that we have a huge archival problem. Librarians used to look after material. Libraries and librarians are dead. Librarians are why we have such detailed records of American history and culture from the 1600s forward. Absolutely nobody is looking after this these days, other than the internet archive project, and they’re kinda gay and also underfunded.

        This entire era (basically my lifespan) is going to disappear to dust. Nobody is going to preserve the music or movies or books.

        I worked in a couple jobs where we’d ship off hard drives for bulk storage to service FOIA requests 20+ years down the line. Well, retards, magnetic media won’t be readable in eight years, let alone 50. It’s either on low acid paper or on an industrially “pressed” CD (CD-R is not archival) or it doesn’t exist in ten years. (The government is clearly “storing hard drives” on purpose.)

        I think loads of people don’t get this and have trusted their family photos to “the cloud”. I keep trying to tell people to get the good pictures you care about printed out by a pro who understands good paper. Tens of millions of people in my lifetime are going to be annoyed that it’s all gone.

        bobbybobbob

        December 29, 2019 at 10:01 PM

      • On spotify I just now tried to listen to “Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)”. They have deliberately remixed it so you can’t understand the lyrics. It’s very obvious. I’m amazed. On the CDs I own the vocals are crystal clear. I literally just checked. It’s obviously deliberate.

        Can’t have a lot of those pesky nationalistic songs like “Mr. Churchill Says” floating around. (Actually that one’s half clear, they fucked most obviously with other ones, like some mother’s son.)

        bobbybobbob

        January 1, 2020 at 11:24 PM

  3. Some of my tastes in music and video entertainment are outside of today’s mainstream, and frankly I would not want Google, or Hulu, or anyone else deciding at some point that it’s no longer worth their while financially to maintain that media on a server somewhere. Hence I prefer to actually physically own the media and the hardware necessary to watch or listen.

    My other concern is that leftist corporations would almost certainly censor the content that is under their control. Take movies from the 80s like “Trading Places,” or “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Certain scenes in both movies* would be considered so far out of bounds by today’s standards that the temptation to censor (or the demands for it from the wokescolds) would be too great to resist.

    * The Duke brothers’ use of the words “negro” and “nigger” in Trading Places, or the Jeff Spicoli character in Fast Times disparaging other surfers: “those guys are fags!”

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    December 27, 2019 at 1:08 PM

    • Yes, that’s true too. Christian Toto has made the same point in his “Hollywood in Toto” blog. Be good to your CD and DVD players.

      sestamibi

      December 27, 2019 at 2:07 PM

    • Amazon is already regularly yanking ebooks because the outrage mob screeches. A book you paid for will literally disappear off your account and ereader device.

      It’s pretty clear that if there’s some sort of media content you care about it’s worth getting in archival form, i.e. CD or paper.

      bobbybobbob

      December 27, 2019 at 11:10 PM

  4. Baba Booey is vindicated.

    Brendan

    December 27, 2019 at 1:42 PM

  5. OK, what has it right. The artwork on the album covers is going to be more valuable than the music content within.

    I recently completed digitization of about 100 cassettes to mp3 files. I tried to sell them to a used music store locally, but they only took 13 of them at a dime each. Geez. I guess I’ll have to give the rest to Goodwill or The Salvation Army . . . if THEY’LL take them!

    I also think the vinyl craze has peaked. I don’t see as many of them in stores like FYE as I did two years ago, and perhaps the new vinyl adherents (many of whom were not even around when vinyl was king) are finding that they are (at least nowadays) expensive, take up too much space in todays cramped urban living quarters, and still are plagued with skips, pops, and clicks no matter how carefully you handle them.

    I still have a huge number of them in my baby boomer record collection. I also have a number of homemade reel-to-reel tapes and CDs. Many of the mp3 albums I now have on my thumb drive have been through four formats: LP (or recorded off the air–the “hip” FM station in the city where I lived in the 70s used to play six full albums every Sunday midnight to 6 AM–the record companies really loved that) to reel-to-reel to CD to mp3. Hard to keep up.

    sestamibi

    December 27, 2019 at 2:04 PM

    • I also don’t think it really makes sense to own anyway. Of all my records of 60s-70s vintage, I wound up playing only about 50 or so on a regular basis. If you buy it any then only play it ten times or so, why do you need it taking up space?

      sestamibi

      December 27, 2019 at 2:05 PM

  6. The quality of CD is fare superior to MP3. CDs are actually uncompressed, I believe. Mp3s are compressed.
    If you have a killer stereo system you can do a side by side of CD vs. mp3 vs. vinyl. CD is a far greater range than the other 2.
    Vinyl wears out with each use and rookies think the loss of fidelity is “warm”.
    Anything on tape is crap – physically degrades with time. Properly stored reel-to-reel is right up there with CD.

    Lion, CDs are the best! Keep ’em and some day people might wise up and perhaps a renaissance of value.

    Chris Cryer

    December 27, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    • There are uncompressed digital formats (FLAC), but no one can tell the difference between a 320kbps mp3s and uncompressed, and only extreme audiophiles can tell the difference between lower bit rate files and uncompressed.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 27, 2019 at 2:51 PM

      • It looks like Leon watched the same video I did.

        destructure

        December 27, 2019 at 6:11 PM

      • LPs floating on turntables seem to reflect old vintage tastes that have “SWPL” value in the modern world similar to aesthetic pleasing pre-war residences that go for an insane amount of price.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        December 28, 2019 at 8:32 PM

    • Agree on CD vs mp3 quality, but is it enough for the average listener to make a difference? If it is, one can always digitize to .wav format instead, but that requires about ten times the data.

      As for reel-to-reel, I have over 400 albums on tapes and got to digitize most of them to homemade CD but my tape deck broke down years ago and it would be really difficult to find parts to fix it and do the rest. I suspect that will be a problem for all legacy formats.

      sestamibi

      December 27, 2019 at 7:35 PM

  7. Throwing out crap you don’t need is a wonderfully freeing experience. After you get done tossing the CDs, work on your clothes. I bet you can dispense with at least 50% of your clothes and you will never know the difference. And it will feel great.

    On the other hand, you can’t get EVERYTHING on Spotify. Here’s a great 80s tune you can’t find on Spotify, and the singer is gay so it must be because of discrimination and hate.

    peterike

    December 27, 2019 at 2:42 PM

    • I’m relatively certain that I own many albums that can’t be found on spotify. But, saying that, I have some pretty obscure albums that I purchased for peanuts in the 80s when people were dumping their albums for cds and I’ve never used spotify I use napster. There’s lots that Napster doesn’t have and they occasionally make stuff they do have unavailable to subscribers (to incentivize sales I believe). Some of a particular band’s greatest albums can temporarily become unavailable to subscribers. The first Moby Grape album is an example. For years it was available for purchase but not to subscribers. Same with Green Thoughts by the Smithereens which was missing for years. Same goes for much of the Fleshtones catalog.

      Napster also has a glaringly insufficient classical music selection. Also, “Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster”, an amazing album which won a grammy, can’t be found on Napster. “Ethnic Folk Songs of the South” by Winifred Smith was widely circulated and popular in the ’60s and is an amazing album but you can only get it in album form on a resell site. The amazingly popular greatest hits collection, Chicago 9, is missing. You have to choose from a different greatest hits assemblage of songs if you want to listen to those songs.

      https://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Folk-Songs-South-Winifred/dp/B005FVWKNY?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-ffnt-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B005FVWKNY

      Curle

      December 27, 2019 at 3:39 PM

    • You think that’s a great song? Jeez.

      Jeez

      December 27, 2019 at 7:33 PM

    • I’m not an idiot who buys disposable crap from H&M or whatever, so all my clothing is nice and I will wear it out eventually. I have no excess. I similarly have a curated set of CDs and DVDs that I know I will listen/watch every few years.

      I bet loads of american households are blowing $1000+ per year on various stupid subscription services like spotify and netflix. We need a Marie Kondo for digital minimalism. That gay psyop netflix subscription is not bringing you joy. A small pile of carefully purchased DVDs might, though.

      bobbybobbob

      December 27, 2019 at 11:19 PM

      • Yeah, $10 a month for this, and $10 a month for that, and before you know it you’re way over $1,000 per year.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM

  8. I saw this coming already over 15 years ago. Fortunately at that time people were still willing to pay money for CDs and I managed to sell them all (after ripping them to mp3s).

    tmmm

    December 27, 2019 at 3:29 PM

  9. Hey Eric,

    Do you know or have you known any famous or semi-famous people personally? For example were you at UPenn concomitant to Stephen Glass or Sabrina Ruben-Erdely (or similar type thing)?

    My best “celebrity” encounter (though she herself isn’t really famous; she’s just the offspring of two very famous people) is that I made out with and got the phone number of a cute goth looking girl at a house party while visiting a friend at Bard College in Poughkeepsie in either 2009 or ’10 whom I later learned was Francis Bean Cobain.

    When I later found out who she was I was too nervous to text her, so unfortunately the story ends there.

    Anonymous

    December 27, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    • Ha, I attended a house party for a local music mag. in the late ‘80s in Seattle at the home of a friend whose sister was dating one of the Screaming Trees (founded 1984) and she also designed one of that band’s album covers. Francis Bean’s father was there (pre-fame) acting weird and I wouldn’t have known it was him but years later another attendee pointed out he was the guy acting up at that party. I presume I was given good information. I never talked to him as he and a friend kept to themselves.

      Kim Thayil of Soundgarten, also pre-fame, was there and he was a pleasant guy. Thayil was getting a philosophy degree at UW at the time.

      Curle

      December 28, 2019 at 1:18 AM

  10. Here is a happy medium between keeping CDs and throwing them out: Take the CD and put it into the paper insert from the jewel case and throw out the jewel case. 200 CDs will then fit comfortably into a shoe box.

    dbp

    December 27, 2019 at 5:06 PM

    • That’s a good idea and we’ve already done that with a number of homemade CD’s. Problem is finding the one you want in the shoebox without title on the spine of a jewel box.

      sestamibi

      December 28, 2019 at 8:08 PM

  11. The problem with vinyl was the poor quality of the discs. About a third of the discs in the 60’s and 70’s I bought had audible defects. They were mostly due to pieces of the paper labels of recycled discs embedded in the new discs. Columbia was an especial culprit.

    You need about $1,000 in turntables, receivers, and speakers to get good quality reproduction. The current listeners are getting 45 monoaural quality, or maybe worse. Welcome to 1950.

    ROBERT SYKES

    December 27, 2019 at 6:15 PM

  12. You should make sure to have DRM free copies, either physical or digital, of anything you really like. It is only a matter of time before a lot of music is removed from streaming services for being “problematic” in one way or another. If I were a identify politics grifter, I would be organizing a movement to shake down spotify for streaming hateful music which is hostile to .

    verylongaccountname

    December 27, 2019 at 6:27 PM

  13. Nothing better than inviting a cute girl over and pouring a glass of wine and putting an LP on and having an impromptu dance.

    That’s why I like them.

    jjbees

    December 27, 2019 at 7:47 PM

  14. I mostly listen to CDs, not vinyl. I listen to them through a vacuum tube preamp and amplifier, which gives them warmth. I’m aiming for what sounds good, not for what is accurate. (Unless I am documenting something, I do similarly when photographing.)

    Anthony

    December 27, 2019 at 9:51 PM

  15. The 1995-2005 decade was the heyday of CDs. It was fun to purchase CDs during this period. Great art associated with the packaging. Problem was, you listened to them in Walkman that always skipped. The advent of digital streaming was a revelation. Audio quality of vinyl is still unmatched.

    Two in the Bush

    December 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM

    • I remember the early years in the mid to late 80s when they came in longboxes–at least until the mob pressured the record stores since the boxes were soooo wasteful. Not as much as reconfiguring all the shelves, I suppose.

      sestamibi

      December 28, 2019 at 8:11 PM

  16. Any Hudson Valley would be town bagger should visit the Peekskill station in Westchester and head over to an used book and LP store not far from the train tracks known as the Bruised Apple with a funky storefront.

    http://www.bruisedapplebooks.com/

    Weird name, but this is by far the best bookstore that carries a sizeable stock of literary classics, philosophy titles and collectible LPs which is along the eastern section of the Hudson River north of the city.

    And yes, Beacon is prole, because the main street doesn’t host an intellectual bookshop. Selling children’s books and pop fiction isn’t intellectual.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    December 28, 2019 at 12:25 AM

  17. I have a logic question here.

    The 5 historians have responded to Jake Silverstein of the Times’ 1619 project, here:

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/12/24/nytr-d24.html

    ” Demonstrating the importance of slavery in the history of our country is essential and commendable. But that necessary and worthy goal will be seriously harmed if the facts in the project turn out to be wrong and the interpretations of events are deemed to be perverse and distorted. ”

    By definition, can a fact be wrong?

    Discuss.

    gothamette

    December 28, 2019 at 3:06 PM

    • They could have been more elaborate and said “claims asserted as fact turn out to be wrong.” But, everyone knows what they meant.

      Curle

      December 28, 2019 at 6:44 PM

      • I like yours better. And logically: if a claim has proven to be unfactual, it’s not a fact and never was. It was a claim asserted to have been a fact.

        gothamette

        December 29, 2019 at 2:08 PM

  18. I may have bought a half dozen CD’s in my life; all of which I got rid of years ago. My YT playlist has about 50 songs that I’ve collected over years. I’ll occasionally download a few to mp player. I figure whatever sound quality I sacrifice is negligible compared to the convenience of smaller files. To be honest, I can only tolerate music for a few minutes at a time anyway. Not that I don’t like some songs. It’s just that I’m either listening to it or I’m not. And more than 20 minutes at a time becomes obnoxious. When I see people jerking off to music, having to have it on, obsessing over sound quality, etc I’m reminded that most people are idiots. And I say this as someone who’s self-taught on a couple of instruments and pays thousands of dollars a year for my children to take music lessons.

    destructure

    December 28, 2019 at 7:10 PM

    • “I can only tolerate music for a few minutes at a time anyway.”

      That’s unusual.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 28, 2019 at 8:37 PM

      • It’s probably more common than you think. For every twat who forces their “music” on others, there are probably several people who are annoyed but don’t want to cause trouble by making an issue of it.

        This is a pleasant song, though. Much less annoying than the crappy songs you usually post about.

        destructure

        December 28, 2019 at 10:55 PM

      • I don’t listen to much music. As a teenager and in my 20’s it was a consuming interest, but it’s also something I grew out of. I’ve not bought a CD or any sort of music in years and seldom listen to music radio stations.

        Mike Street Station

        December 29, 2019 at 8:12 AM

      • “I can only tolerate music for a few minutes at a time anyway.”

        The only time I don’t have music on is when I’m concentrating on something so hard that even classical music is distracting. But, that is pretty rare even when writing complicated memoranda. In fact, there’s a pattern: upbeat when I wake up (something fast and with a beat), quickly moving into something slower but still jumpy (think Little feat) and progressively to slower or more subdued stuff (Karen Dalton, etc.) and moving into classical where I remain for most of the day.

        Curle

        December 29, 2019 at 1:20 PM

  19. Hey guys! Cassette Store Day!

    http://www.brooklynvegan.com/cassette-store-day-2019-full-list-of-exclusive-titles/

    I also found a Web site called Cassette Store Day, but it’s in French and it seems to be about porn!

    Cassette Store Day

    December 28, 2019 at 9:51 PM

  20. vinyl doesn’t have better sound quality than digital, its a total myth.

    james n.s.w

    December 28, 2019 at 11:36 PM


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