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CD sales fell 20 percent in 2008

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 03 Jan 2009 1:39 User comments (13)

CD sales fell 20 percent in 2008 According to Nielsen SoundScan year-end figures, CD sales fell 20 percent for the year 2008, while digital sales grew 27 percent.
Physical CDs still remain the most profitable media for recorded music, and account for 85 percent of overall album sales.

Over 1 billion digital tracks were sold in 2008, while 362.6 million physical CDs were sold for the year.

Even more disheartening for the record industry is the fact that for the period of September 30th-December 31st, CD sales declined the most. That period is usually the most important time of the year for sales, due to the holidays.

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13 user comments

13.1.2009 3:07

I prefer to purchase my music in cd format (I like the fullness of the music over mp3). I usually purchase indepentent artists on small labels (where the artists get adequate compensation).
Digital downloads solves the problem of a few good songs on an entire album purchase (what a waste of money), where you can pick and choose only hit songs for a fraction of the cost of an entire album.

Just my thoughts


This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Jan 2009 @ 3:10

Life is Grand !

23.1.2009 13:31

Not surprised by these numbers. I think I've only bought 1 CD (Viva La Vida) in the past 4 years, and I only buy them if I really like the band.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Jan 2009 @ 13:32

33.1.2009 15:50

I too still like to buy CDs and then rip them to MP3s and place the CD in a safe spot. But it is obvious that even though CD sales are slipping digital sales are up and compensating for the loss of CD sales. So the way I see it is the RIAA has no room to complain for loss of profits and they can quit blaming pirates for stealing music like they have been for years.

43.1.2009 17:42

i buy cds for the bands i really support (Depeche Mode, Alphaville etc)

53.1.2009 23:36

Yea, I still prefer to buy cd's because they have more collectible value, heck, I even still buy them in Records, specially with the latest albums such as Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Mariah's latest albums, they still sound good in Vinyl's and then I rip them in MP3 format to listen on my phone. It just feels like is more collectible than just digital track that you cant see, touch, or read.

64.1.2009 1:41

well quality of music gone downhill i only found few good albums that are worth buying like the new ac/dc album and few others.

74.1.2009 1:41

Originally posted by bobiroc:
I too still like to buy CDs and then rip them to MP3s and place the CD in a safe spot. But it is obvious that even though CD sales are slipping digital sales are up and compensating for the loss of CD sales. So the way I see it is the RIAA has no room to complain for loss of profits and they can quit blaming pirates for stealing music like they have been for years.
Actually, digital sales do not even come close to compensating for the decline in CD sales. The labels would have to sell multiple billion digital tracks to even come close :)

85.1.2009 3:40

HOO! HOO! hell I will hit a new mile stone February 2nd making it would be 6 years of no media purchase from myself, I have saved my self $16,758.00 in past 6 years when RIAA started with there so call fit against piracy, and went after 80 year old grandmothers and so on, that is when I quit buying music and videos, I guess the hardest hit was my teen age daughter, who asked why I stopped buying music and videos for them and I explain that I would never so port crooks that would willing go after old ladies or sick kids in the hospitals, just to make there point. And told her that all that money would be better spent on schooling like her guitar lesson or for her private school I guess it was not that bad of a trade off, thinking on it now, I would like thank you RIAA. for money better spent on my kids education, It would not be possible with out your outlandish behavior, and for not having respect or morals for the elderly or the sick.

95.1.2009 19:27

CD quality beats MP3 hands down and particularly if you have even halfway decent gear, let alone "Hi Fi" proper.
Nine inch nails released "The Slip" digitally (free too!) but in multiple formats from 24 bit down - way to go!
I'll give up my silver disks if I can have quality downloads that aren't stained by megalomaniac DRM type nonsense, and pay too.

106.1.2009 0:29

Soon the physical CD's sold will be at it's all time low of 100 million per year. This is so obvious in a time that 75% of home have computers in it's house hold along with the internet and most teenagers don't have the money of $10 to go out and buy CD's so they rather figure out a way to illegal download the songs than buy a CD with 12 filer track songs on it. We are living in a time that ever the North America car industry is also down in sales over all 21% leading us now into a recession. So this just shows everyone that CD's will decline more because people aren't spending their money on entertainment items as much when they can go online and get it for free.

Artists are still over all making their money from live concerts shows and this is where the major record companies will start to take a chuck out of the artists profit. Times are different than 20 years ago everything is online.

116.1.2009 10:48

bryston, and others not all mp3s are the same. Mp3 is just a lossy file format. Those that buy then rip (I am one) can be certain of the quality. What is sold at itunes and most other sites are fairly low quality. Anyone with a trained ear and does not need a earing aid can tell the difference between a 128 and real. There are sites that sell high quality mp3s or lossless. I gather bluecoast has such an organization. Both sound the same but lossless has much more data.

If you rip something other than new CDs and use a tool like accurip you will know the biggest problem with playing CDs is surface defects. Unless your CDs have close to perfect surfaces, there will be defects in the hearable range. Vinyl has to be much much worse. You must damage the disk slightly every time you play it. Washing the disk after each use and using light tracking will reduce the wear but can't eliminate it. Persons ripping CDs then listening to digital (hi-end mp3s or lossless) listen to higher quality music than persons that play vinyl and probably better than persons that play CDs. At best, the music of a played CD will equal a hi-end digital tune.

A 320 constant bits per second faithfully capture everything a perfect human ear can hear. Most adults with a trained ear can't make out much above a 190 BR. 320 is massive over kill. Most persons that buy and rip go over kill. I do, since that insures over-kill quality. If you can REALLY hear the difference between a 320 and 'real' the source of the mp3 was not 'true'. If you burn a set of 128 BR to an audio disk then re-rip to mp3 or lossless the music is still 128. That does not happen to persons who buys a CD then rips it.

Anyone that thinks they can tell the difference between a LAME extream mp3 and source can post a compliant on the LAME forum. To be taken seriously, you will need an mp3 with a few seconds of the music with the defect, the matching wave source, the time and frequency of the defect and a description of the defect. The forum members will check out your complaint. If it is valid I would suspect a company like LAME would start working on the defect correction emmediatly. I have read the dialong during the testing/debugging of LAME's VBR mp3 encoder. That was an eye opener! LAME corrected all valid complaints. After reading that I can only chuckle when persons tell me they can hear the difference between what ever and a high end mp3 expertly created. I notice they are never specific about the differences. They indicate only a fool couldn't tell the difference.

One other point... I am expecting some flames after this post.

There are some vinyl disks that were 'pressed loud'. They will sound better than CDs. However, a audio capture of a pressed loud vinyl will sound the same if done properly. The high frequency tones or the pressed loud disks were amplified giving the music a richer sound. That has NOTHING to do with the fact that it is vinyl. You can do the same trick using an equalizer.

Note, I never said there is no place for lossless. I used lossless to preserve audio captures of vinyl. I just don't rip to lossless if I own the CD.

1216.1.2011 17:51

I know this is an old article but why do these reports all sound like they can't believe CD sales are dropping? I think at some point CD sales will be dead for the most part. Most people rather pay & download rather than leave their house. They can burn their own compilations on CD if they really want to.

1317.1.2011 9:58

Yes, this article is VERY old.

Well the industry doesn't believe it. We all know they are utter morons. They want to go back to their glory days. However, I blame them for the decline of great music. They could be making money hand over fist if they priced music fairly. Charging too much deduces sales, reduces popularity and make the artists arrogant. They like to blame pirates for their misfortune instead of their own stupidity.

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