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Interesting article - Death of the CD

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by old tech, Feb 6, 2019.
  1. old tech
    I came across this write-up in a vinyl focused website. I expected the usual vinylphile ****fest but surprisingly it is a fairly balanced viewpoint. In fact the website generally is pretty good without resorting to myths and psuedoscience like most do.

    I don't agree with the author's opinions on the early Pink Floyd CDs, but mostly it is quite agreeable. I particularly like the conclusion where the grandfather is explaining what CDs were to his grandson.

    StandsOnFeet likes this.
  2. stonesfan129
    I grew up when the dominant formats were cassette tapes and CD (early 1990s). My dad had quite a large CD collection. He always thought a CD sounded better than a vinyl record and re-bought a lot of his albums on CD. I also have a very large CD collection mostly because I wanted to have physical backup copies of my collection. I ripped my entire collection to lossless files. One thing I always hated about a CD was how bands would make one or two good songs, then the rest of the CD was filler. So you ended up paying $15 for a CD for a couple songs. I could not care less if they stopped making CDs. It would be cheaper to just provide a FLAC download and you get it instantly instead of waiting three days for Amazon to put it in the mail.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  3. 71 dB
    You listen to crappy bands. Good bands make solid albums. :L3000:
    Svatopluk likes this.
  4. gregorio
    As 71dB stated, that's certainly not always the case but neither was it entirely uncommon either. Also, "good songs" is very much in the eye of the beholder, albums were commonly designed to be listened to in their entirely and therefore songs were often included that were designed to provide a contrast, a musical shape/progression through the album. So, there would typically be several stand-alone songs of higher energy, which could potentially be "single" hits (and suitable for radio play) and several transitional and/or contrasting songs. In other words, albums were commonly designed as albums rather than just a collection of (relatively or entirely) unrelated singles. However, there were consumers who weren't particularly interested in albums, they just wanted the "singles", in much the same way as some people just want excepts of the famous bits of symphonies or operas, rather than the whole opera or symphony.

    Of course, who wouldn't want to pick and choose exactly what we want (and don't want), get it instantly AND pay 1,000 times less for it? However there's a flip side to this coin, as there always is when just picking parts of a product and paying massively less for them. The revenue to those who create, make and distribute those products also falls massively and the basic rules of commercial economics dictate that if the revenue is massively lower then the cost of creating, making and distributing those products also has to be massively lower. The amount of time, expertise and resources allocated to creating those products must be very significantly reduced, which results in poorer quality recordings, plus there's little or no financial incentive to take the risk and invest in artist development or experiment with new, different artists or music. It's a sad fact that if they were starting out today, many of history's greatest artists/bands would never get known (beyond a few hundred facebook family/friends) and a significant amount of history's greatest music/recordings would never have been created in the first place! The age of the professional recording artist is now almost dead, it's been replaced by the age of the celebrity/touring artists, who are part-time recording artists in order to provide promotional material for their real income, their celebrity and tours.

    Steve999 likes this.
  5. bigshot
    There is one aspect of CDs that encourages packing albums with unnecessary stuff... the running time. I have some Jazz box sets where they include all the alternate takes in the order they were recorded. This means there might be three very similar versions of a song all in a row. It's not the fault of the format that the curation is bad, but it happens.
  6. 71 dB
    A first world problem if I ever saw one… …you can program your CD player to play the tracks on a CD in any order and even omit tracks you don't want to hear, of course.
  7. bigshot
    It's a pain to have to program playback. I'd rather they curate the set properly in the first place. But I think they sell to collectors who obsess more about having every variation of a song than they do actually listen to the music. They don't have to listen to the CD, only put it on the shelf in neat order knowing in their heart of hearts their collection of Ellington Brunswicks is absolutely complete and presented in chronological order.
  8. 71 dB
    Wow. I wish my problems were that miniscule. I don't have many CDs needing programming because I'm not much into Jazz with multiple takes. One CD that needs programming is the Working Girl soundtrack because I merely want only the Carly Simon stuff, but that's nothing.
  9. Steve999
    I've got a Charlie Parker on Verve, I think it is, CD set like that, where they keep having takes where two seconds in they yell "cut!" and I would guess everyone is standing around trying to figure out if what Charlie Parker was doing was part of the song or a mistake. It's a several CD set and it doesn't make for good listening because of the emphasis on completeness. Fortunately everything is on streaming services now and in much more digestible form and with improved sound for that matter.

    Edit: for example I see on Spotify they now have the complete Charlie Parker Verve Master Takes, which takes out all of the repetitive and monotonous "completeness" non-master material from the CD set I have.

    By contrast I have a Duke Ellington set of his Blanton-Webster band on CD that is beautifully curated. This is stuff that can't be replicated, it's in the sound it's in, with progress made over various reissues over time, but the folks with the unique talents to make these particular individualized big band recordings have come and gone. As I understand it that's how Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn wrote--having in mind the individuals in the band and how they would work with it.

    Edit: for example I see on Spotify they now have the complete Charlie Parker Verve Master Takes, which takes out all of the repetitive and monotonous "completeness" non-master material from the CD set I have.

    Maybe first world problems, but this whole forum is about first-world problems, no? That doesn't reduce the validity of @bigshot 's critique.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  10. Glmoneydawg
    Damn it....i hadn't thought of chronological thing...thanks:/

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