The death of the CD and the rise of the internet artist

Posted on 8 November 2011
By Matt Barden
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The CD is dead. Or at least it will be by 2012 if rumours and whispers from music industry insiders are to be believed.

It is inevitable that the format will become extinct eventually, going the route of VHS, cassettes and the 8 Track, in favour of a purely digital music consumption business.

But is this is a good or bad thing for music lovers? Those crying that the demise of the CD will ruin music are probably a little out of touch with how a new generation consumes their entertainment.

We live in an era of immediacy and CDs, cinemas, music television and radio are all fast becoming ancient relics of a distant past.

Kids will not sit in front of the TV patiently waiting to hopefully see that one music video. Instead they will hit the net and instantly watch whatever they want on Youtube or Vevo.

If they want a song or album, gone are the days when they waited like little saints for the weekend to roll round and hopped public transport to HMV or Virgin and spent a month’s pocket money on a shiny, new Compact Disc.

With iTunes or Amazon they can immediately purchase their album of choice, or even forfeit the other dozen tracks they don’t want and just take what they need, all instantly available to play off their iPods or laptops.

The same goes for radio. This generation are too demanding to wait for what some disc jockey is going to spin them, hence the rise of Spotify and its ability to play pretty much any track on the planet when and where you want to.

This culture of demand has led to the accession of persistent illegal downloading, and the rise of torrent sites and P2P networks. Why wait for the album to be released when it’s leaked online a week before?

Spotify has helped quell this trend for the music industry, providing a legal option to listen to more music than you possibly could in a lifetime. But other industries that have not been so quick to provide alternatives may soon be doomed.

Are the On Demand generation going to wait for cinema release dates for major Hollywood films or would they rather download it and consume as soon as possible? Not to mention being tied down to a time when the movie actually starts, eventually the cinemas will be forgotten as more and more people steal from online.

So what are the artists to do? This is a dawn of a new era, no longer tied to deadlines and industry demands, we should be moving into a time of creative freedom and limitless possibilities.

The internet is always there and constantly updating. A band could realistically put out an album a month in digital form and the best part is it doesn’t matter if everything is their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, because the net allows for experimentation and discovery without the fear of being dropped by your label because of sales.

The CD is dead and soon the old ways of the Music industry will follow. It won’t matter that a real band can’t get the time of day from their label because they’re busy pushing the next Cher Lloyd or JLS album, because they will not need to rely on them.

As Sam Cooke sang, it’s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come.