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Gartner: music labels should drop CDs

updated 08:55 am EST, Tue December 23, 2008

Gartner Sees Music CDs End

Music labels should all but phase out CDs as a key source of income in as little as a year, analyst group Gartner says today in a new report. Research VP Mark McGuire argues that the shift towards direct online music downloads is now so well underway that the industry has little choice but to push the format heavily and that the market share for CDs is declining too quickly to ever properly recover. By trying to sustain the physical medium for so long, the industry has failed to give buyers a viable alternative to piracy and clung to dying technology at the same time, McGuire explains.

He notes that many retailers have been steadily scaling back their shelf space, which compounds the issue as less selection is made available on CD and turns more shoppers towards downloads.

Instead, the analyst suggests a "digital first" approach that stresses releasing digital music first and pushing physical format sales only when necessary. Retailers and the labels themselves could press discs only on demand and thus avoid many of the risks of overstocking or otherwise running the typically high costs for CDs.

The analysis comes at the end of a year in which digital stores began to overtake the largest physical retailers, with iTunes surpassing Walmart in the US and maintaining its lead through the rest of the year.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Environmentally good...

    ...if sound environment isn't considered, but alas the audio quality that some argue was lost from LP to CD would I fear be significantly higher from CD to DD (direct download) if CDs are abandoned in favour of a compressed audio 'goldrush'...

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sometimes I wonder if these guys from Gartner just like to hear themselves talk.

    Target and WalMart still sell CRAPLOADS of CD's. AC/DC and Kid Rock released purely on CD recently and are making a KILLING. The CD is sharing the spotlight with digital, but is FAR from dead.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    higher offerings

    If you want to do this, you'd want to offer lossless downloads at a higher price to not discriminate against that particular market of buyers. I'm certain they'd pay the fully inflated CD price for the album.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Gartner assumes everyone has a computer??

    ya know there are some poor folk in the world...

  1. David Esrati

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ears hear difference

    And- considering MP3's sound like c***- this will continue a slide into lo-fi lousy sound.
    Some people still think that the CD was too low-rez for music.
    It's also funny- some people still like archives- and the art that comes with the CD.
    Gartner Group needs to get a life.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    environment and sound

    Not that much environmentally good. Most people don't dispose of their CDs, so it isn't like they all end up in the trash, like CD-Rs and such.

    And to the user who wants lossless, there really is no such thing. Even CD audio has lost some of the sound. You want lossless, start buying LPs, grab a high-end turntable with high-end receivers and amps and speakers, and perhaps you'll get true lossless;

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