Posted Dec 8th, 2014 (9:00 am) by Stacie Sullivan

The compact disk is now becoming a thing of the past with the growing popularity of MP3’s and online streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud. Like previous audio formats, it looks as though the death of the CD as we know it is inevitable, but will it ever die out entirely?

Many artists feel as though fans are less likely to purchase physical copies of music when they can stream an album for free on the internet. Taylor Swift refusing to put her most recent release, 1989, on Spotify is an excellent example of this fear. “It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is,” Swift wrote.

She isn’t the only one steering clear of online streaming services. Beyonce’s surprise December album that was released last year just became available on Spotify last month and The Black Keys have also kept their music off of the platform. Their fear of physical copies of music going unpurchased is not unwarranted. Artists make considerably less money when a fan streams a track online, opposed to going out and buying a physical copy.

Downloadable music is also to blame for the fall of CD sales. Going out to the store to purchase an album on its release day is not something fans look forward to anymore. Instead, they turn on their computer and with the click of a button they have purchased their favorite artist’s new album on iTunes. I know I am guilty of this. When I was in high school I used to get excited about going to the store to pick up a new album. Now, I am more likely to go online and download it for a small fee.

Artists have been catching onto this fad by making their music available for a cheap fee. On Bandcamp, an artist can choose how much they wish to sell their album for. Smaller acts can be found selling their latest LP for as low as $1. This alone is causing the death of the compact disk.

While the CD is losing popularity now, I believe it will never die out entirely. There are still those fans who prefer to have a physical copy of an album rather than just a file on their computer. Cassette tapes and vinyl are a great example of what the future of the CD looks like.

Both formats lost popularity,but now they are considered cool and vintage. Artists are now releasing their music on cassette and vinyl as collector’s items. Hip-hop artist Jonwayne released a series of mixtapes all on cassette which did very well at catching the attention of fans.

Despite the fall of CD sales now due to MP3’s and online streaming services, there is hope for the compact disk. High school students of the millennial generation will view the CD as a cool artifact of the past. They will buy them as collector’s items as we are today with cassettes and vinyl. The compact disk holds a bright future after all.

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