Is the CD dead?
Well, sales are definitely declining, but so too are digital downloads of albums. The real growth is in the streaming market with Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer leading the way, but newer players such as Tidal, which offers a CD quality service, are also coming through.
People who are generally looking for convenience, without ownership, don’t feel the need to have a physical copy of their music and are happy to just pay a subscription service to stream content on demand.
We find, however, that we sell a large number of CD players, as many of our customers treasure their CD collection as part of their own history and enjoy the physical act of choosing a CD to play, taking the case off the shelf, opening it and loading it into the player. These players also feature a radio and a streaming, or Bluetooth, option to give customers the choice of how to listen to their music so that they have the best of all worlds. Our premium brand, Ruark, a British company, have been producing CD players for 11 years and have recently launched a new one, the stylish R5.
So, is streaming harking back to the days when you didn’t own a television but rented it? Are we looking for a minimalist home without clutter and just want the ease of listening to music without a pile of CDs? We do find, with the CD players that we supply, that they provide an all-in-one solution of speakers and CD together, thereby moving customers away from the old stacking box solution, giving a neater result but without any detriment to the sound of their music. In addition, record players can be added to the mix, to give a full choice of media to enjoy their music.
This is a choice many of our customers are making. Although several years ago, the vinyl record industry was considered dead, it has had a large-scale revival and our record player sales are increasing year on year. With a growing number of record stores opening over the last few years, including three in Shrewsbury, it shows the interest from both young and shall we say ‘older’ customers.
Artists are also launching new albums with special vinyl releases and there are re-pressings of old, much-loved albums, often on coloured vinyl. In addition, Record Store Day has been celebrated since 2008 and sees independent record stores in the UK celebrating all things vinyl, with special vinyl releases made exclusively for the day. These independent stores also generally stock CDs for the connoisseurs.
So, in our view, as long as you are listening to music, whether this is on CD or via streaming, it is a great thing, as music has a powerful effect on your mood, whether enhancing or reflecting it. In fact, studies have shown that listening to music can make you happier, sleep better, reduce anxiety and stress and even help your memory.