It has become a legitimate question for music fans whether Compact Discs (or CDs) can last much longer. Is the CD dead? Or on its way out? That is perhaps a complicated question.
There can be no doubt that CDs are on their way out. Music stores like Tower Records have started to close down, and the music sections of stores are shrinking. Among younger listeners, it is not uncommon to find many people who simply no longer buy CDs, favoring downloads (whether legal or illegal) or other means of listening.
This is unavoidable, although also something that the industry does have to take some of the blame for. Even with the advent of Netflix, on-demand services, and available downloads, DVDs have managed to continue going strong, retaining their value with consumers. It may be that CDs simply no longer offer enough to justify their cost, which is generally somewhere around 17-19 dollars for single-disc new releases. This is pretty close to the cost of a new DVD release, and the costs don’t go down as quickly as DVD prices do, despite all the special features and bonus content available with many DVD releases. Of course, there are liner notes and occasionally bonus items released with CDs, but it must be said that the music industry has possibly hastened the decline of the CD medium.
Of course, this does not mean the end, for the industry or even necessarily the medium. Many huge music fans are still willing to buy physical copies of what they like; the recent resurgence in popularity of vinyl records is evidence enough of this, and certainly many listeners will probably maintain an affection for CDs for some time. As well, although they will likely continue to decline, downloads, including legal ones, have continued to grow in popularity. Artists continue to find other ways to distribute and share music as well. CDs will most likely join the dustbin of history someday, but people will always find ways to listen to music and support their favorite artists.