Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the end of the compact disc

The price of CDs has come down and down, and the space HMV devotes to them has become smaller and smaller. I’ve always liked to purchase a CD as a back-up for iTunes - because I distrusted Apple, and it just seemed sensible. This approach was vindicated when my computer and iPod were stolen simultaneously, and I lost over 100 songs purchased on iTunes. The burglar however turned his nose up at all my CDs, so I was able to rip them all again. It’s very annoying when iTunes still recognizes I’ve bought a song before - but I have no way of accessing my previous purchase.

So I was alarmed to read a prediction that this new Depression will kill off the CD as a format entirely. Oddly enough, in January, due to the sales and fall in price of CDs, I bought more of them in one month than I ever have before.

But nevertheless, even I am now moving slowly into a post-CD world. First, Apple announced an ease of restrictions on iTunes songs (good!), and secondly, I have signed up for a new back-up service, which backs up my whole computer on a continuous basis. Of course, it is a worry that my stuff is being backed up in California (earthquakes, anyone?), but on balance I feel a lot safer. As expensive as it is to replace a stolen laptop, the data you lose is far more precious.

I have noticed that some CDs - usually compilations - are cheaper to buy on Play or Amazon. This I am afraid is the CD’s last competitive quality. It is indeed now an unsustainable format.

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