Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dubious Survey Predicts CDs Will Die In 5 Years

A new survey of 16-24 year-olds found 60% predicting the CD will die out in the next 5 years. It's a dramatic conclusion, but is it one we should snicker at, or believe? Like any other study, this one needs to be scrutinized more closely before we know whether the results are credible.

The survey was sponsored by a mobile phone company, and, as NME notes in their article about the study, it was compiled by a former NME writer. They did not, however, mention that the company sells songs through an online music store. The Times did mention mobile-downloading but they should have done more. They need not write a headline like "Company that sells music downloads predicts CDs will die" but they should put a pretty bright light on the sponsorship.

It's far from unusual for companies to have a financial interest in the outcome of a study they're sponsoring. People just have a right to know such information, and it looks shady when it's hidden. The whole study was likely done for publicity purposes, which is certainly allowed, though it's not a form of advertising I much like.

The company was very upfront with information about its online store in their press release, and helpfully included quotes from their Marketing Director, who tells us "For today's music consumers, nothing less than music on demand, 24/7, will do."

Only 16-24-year-olds were included in the survey (The Times mentioned this; NME referred to "under 24-year-olds"). People of other ages buy CDs. 2006's 16 year-olds don't necessarily have great ability to predict the purchasing habits of 2011's 25 year-olds, let alone baby boomers. Those hippie flower kids still buy plenty of CDs, and there's no reason to suspect they will stop in 5 years. The Man wants them not to buy CDs, and that's reason enough to convince me they'll keep buying them.

The so-called "music geek" CD-buying niche is there as well, aided by the trend to add extra material with CDs such as Beck's stickers to make your own CD cover with The Information, Sufjan Stevens' short story, essays, and other material in the forthcoming Songs for Christmas, or bonus DVDs included with many albums.

There's lots of evidence of the decline of CD sales, but this survey seems heavily slanted. Records are still around. I don't see the CD dying in a mere 5 years.

The Gothic Archies - Things Are Not What They Appear (available on The Tragic Treasury: Songs from a Series of Unfortunate Events).

Sparks - I Predict (available on New Wave Hits of the 80's: Just Can't Get Enough, Vol. 9)


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