CD Sales Drop, Digital Music Jumps In 1st Half '07

According to data from Nielsen SoundScan, U.S. sales of digital music albums grew by 60% to 23.5 million units in the first six months of 2007 but failed to offset the rapid sales decline of compact discs: total album sales were down by 15% for both digital and CDs, with CDs alone falling 19.3% to 205.7 million units. The recorded music industry is struggling in the early stages of a transition to digital formats from the dominant CD format. The biggest selling albums in the first half of the year were Daughtry's self-titled work with 1.7 million units, Norah Jones' "Not Too Late" at 1.4 million units and Akon's "Konvicted" at 1.3 million.

News source: InformationWeek

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Ill stick with mp3 for now. My car stereo plays mp3's and wma files. My car got broke into and they didnt bother taking my mp3 cds. My originals are in the house away from heat and car theft.

if your paying 1dollar a song your probably getting ripped off... cause at that price u could get the REAL CD for similar prices. (like 15 songs for 15 bucks = basically standard audio cd prices)

unless you one of those people where u only like 1 or 2 songs per album sorta thing and just want a couple songs off many many albums then it might not be a bad thing i guess.

but aint no way i would pay 1 dollar per song when it has DRM and lower quality mp3 files vs the scene releases which are VBR (EAC + LAME) which is generally around 192avg bit rate but goes to 320kbps when needed in the song... this way (as i said above in my posts) u maintain top quality at a decent file size.

I'd rather have a CD than a digital file any day. If I need a digital file, which I have 10,000+, I rip it from a CD. Lossless audio is the best.

One of the largest music retail chains in Canada has disappeared into oblivion in recent years due to the "impact of technology on the recording industry".

isnt it funny how the RIAA always talks about declining CD sales when they talk about piracy but always forget to mention how well paid music services are doing.

I was really young but I can vaguely remember seeing the mostly empty 8-Track display racks at Hills as they were clearing them out. Then cassette tapes recently disappeared from Wal-Mart. Now it's the CDs turn to disappear. Will there be no format to replace it though? Not everyone buys music online or even has a computer. I think they should distribute albums in digital format on some type of inexpensive flash device that can be plugged into an MP3 player.

Funny thing, when I was in the first grade I had a Texas Instruments Speak and Spell and after thinking about how it could talk I boldly made the prediction that someday music would come on computer chips instead of cassettes. My friends thought that was stupid but I think I was actually pretty close. We now play our music from "computer chips".

me personally i dont think cd's will disappear anytime soon cause theres still alot of people who buy cd's... plus i dont see MP3's completely taking out CD's just cause CD is still got better quality and alot of people still prefer buying cd's.

about your flash device with mp3's on it replaceing cd's ... i dont think thats going to happen either as it's still to expensive to use flash memory over cd's.... cause really do you see flash memory getting to be like 20cents for 700MB anytime soon? ... i sure dont.... even if they lower bit rate you still probably going to atleast need 256MB or so.

p.s. although nice prediction about the "computer chips" thing

hmmm... I have mixed feelings about this

I see the increase of digital sales as a good thing, though I refuse to buy any music encoded in the format currently offered on the internet. I mean, DRM or not right now is not the main problem. The files that Itunes & Cie are selling are compressed audio files and thus there is some kind of audio degradation. There is no reason why I should pay for a product that is inferior to what an audio CD can currently output... heck, imho, it is even of inferior quality than the "MP3 scene" rips (which are very good btw, pretty much all encoded with the LAME encoder and they are all high quality variable bitrates mp3's)... There's tons of excellent lossless format now available (wavepack, FLAC for example), so I really don't see why encode their music that way.

the problem is that if a company tried to use flac thy wouldnt make any profits since the music industry takes most of the money and to have flac downloads at good speeds would take alot of bandwidth/resources

I don't get your reasoning.

First off, almost no one (except big time audiophiles) listens to lossless music anymore. Too big file sizes without enough benefits.

Second of all, almost everyone is listening in a noisy environment, where is is essentially impossible to tell the difference between music with bitrates from 160kbps or higher (and many people are quite happy with 128kbps music).

Third, why bother with the step of buying a CD and ripping it when it is predone for you? Correct metadata, the album artwork directly downloaded from the iTunes store (and in many cases now, a digital PDF booklet to replicate the linear notes), and slowly more and more music in DRM-free 256kbps AAC files.

To me, the only reason to buy a CD is if it isn't available as an iTunes Plus download yet.

chrisgeleven said,
I don't get your reasoning.

First off, almost no one (except big time audiophiles) listens to lossless music anymore. Too big file sizes without enough benefits.

Second of all, almost everyone is listening in a noisy environment, where is is essentially impossible to tell the difference between music with bitrates from 160kbps or higher (and many people are quite happy with 128kbps music).

Third, why bother with the step of buying a CD and ripping it when it is predone for you? Correct metadata, the album artwork directly downloaded from the iTunes store (and in many cases now, a digital PDF booklet to replicate the linear notes), and slowly more and more music in DRM-free 256kbps AAC files.

To me, the only reason to buy a CD is if it isn't available as an iTunes Plus download yet.

i disagree, as the way i see it... is if your paying similar prices to the original cd you might as well get the original cd and rip it like the mp3 scene releases are this way u get better quality stuff and u always have a original high quality source if you ever need to rerip it to a constant bit rate or whatever you happen to want.

cause 128kbps just flat out aint worth paying for.... i would not even consider buying a mp3 unless it was ATLEAST 192kbps MIN.

but to be honest i think it's fairly hard (atleast in standard cheap headphones) to tell the difference between say 128 to 192+ although i can definitely notice the difference once you drop below 128.. cause say 128 down to 96 i can easily notice this with my own ears.

get EAC with the LAME encoder (both free) and you can make scene quality rips for your cd's (the ones where it varies bit rate alot from lower than 128 all the way upto 320, but generally averages around 192 give or take a little)

ThaCrip said,
i disagree, as the way i see it... is if your paying similar prices to the original cd you might as well get the original cd and rip it like the mp3 scene releases are this way u get better quality stuff and u always have a original high quality source if you ever need to rerip it to a constant bit rate or whatever you happen to want.

cause 128kbps just flat out aint worth paying for.... i would not even consider buying a mp3 unless it was ATLEAST 192kbps MIN.

but to be honest i think it's fairly hard (atleast in standard cheap headphones) to tell the difference between say 128 to 192+ although i can definitely notice the difference once you drop below 128.. cause say 128 down to 96 i can easily notice this with my own ears.

get EAC with the LAME encoder (both free) and you can make scene quality rips for your cd's (the ones where it varies bit rate alot from lower than 128 all the way upto 320, but generally averages around 192 give or take a little)

VBR is awesome. I don't understand why anyone is still using standard bitrates and not variable, saves on space and makes for very high quality music for less space on average.

WICKO said,

VBR is awesome. I don't understand why anyone is still using standard bitrates and not variable, saves on space and makes for very high quality music for less space on average.

exactly my point! ... cause basically i would say the avg bit rate with the EAC+LAME encoder is roughly 192 (in my own exp i seen avg bit rate goto as high as around 224 in some cases) but it still basically has the quality of those 320CBR files but with a much smaller file size

You can tell with rock music. I was listening to 'You Know My Name', the new James Bond theme by Chris Cornell at 256kbps, and at the loud points, you could notice distortion. I compared it with a FLAC of the same and there was a much better quality. But of course that's rock; anything else is pretty good with MP3.

I still only buy CDs. Similar price/cheaper, and you get a 'hard copy' and artwork with it. Then I can rip it to a high bitrate, without DRM myself.

Maybe I'm wrong but, I'm fairly certain you can not make the quality of the orginal source better by ripping it. You can make the file size bigger for sure, but making the bitrate higher from the source does not improve sound quality.

@eis: The parent wasn't saying it could be ripped to better quality than the source, but to a high bitrate, for example higher than what iTunes offers in their 128 kbps AAC tracks.

chicken-royal said,
I still only buy CDs. Similar price/cheaper, and you get a 'hard copy' and artwork with it. Then I can rip it to a high bitrate, without DRM myself.

+1, and the best part is you can now get some seriously cheap CD's / good offers from import sites like bangcd etc.

Linkin Park's new album sold as much as the mentioned ones, I believe.
Anyway, When music starts getting released in free digital formats, Higher bitrate coupled with no DRM, CD Sales would cease to be.