Pin It
Favorite

Bomb Garden 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & DISC WORLD


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ast week slate.com had a fascinating story on the economics of the Compact Disc. It explained why big chains (Tower Records) are dying, why niche sellers (Silver Platters of Seattle) are thriving and why non-music retailers (Starbucks) are eager to release albums (Paul McCartney, serious).


Like everything we've been talking about in this column for months, the reasons for all the giant slayings came down to market forces and consumers' demand for choice. The article's reason for why joints like Starbucks are optimistic, though, had a new wrinkle: Old Folks. "[P]lenty of baby boomers still buy the shiny discs," explained writer Daniel Gross, boomers being scared, as old people are, of things like iPods.





I'm never one to shy away from a little ageism, and I'm sure demographic data would support Gross, but I think the argument misses an underlying cause. There are plenty of older tech heads who jumped ship the moment iPod generation one hit the streets. Likewise, there are plenty of young people (James Pants, I'm looking at you) who go all the way back to vinyl as their chosen format.





CD sales are driven by preference and ease of use, not age. Vinyl is kept alive by DJs and people who like its analog warmth. Similarly, Andrew Matson, our primary hip-hop writer, voices near-paralyzing dread at the idea of listening to an album without scouring the liner notes. We live in a world of niche tastes. This is an extension.





So yes, CDs are partially sustained by old people comfortable with old tech. They also survive though, on kids who crave flexibility. The CD was the first major digital format and the last to be virtually un-protected. CD's dovetail with the newest technology without being hampered with any of that tech's annoying usage restrictions. CDs do all the things people want.





Super label EMI decided to make its iTunes high bit-rate inventory DRM restriction-free as of Monday, so that's one of four major labels freeing up some of their music. It's a start. Until record labels start offering their entire catalogues without restrictions, though (and with liner notes, you morons), the CD is in no danger of dying.
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Hiring Among Friends
  • Hiring Among Friends

    What's wrong with this picture? Todd Mielke wants the top job in Spokane County and his colleagues get to decide
    • May 20, 2015
  • Walking to Where, Exactly?
  • Walking to Where, Exactly?

    Publisher's Note
    • May 20, 2015
  • Too Early to Tell
  • Too Early to Tell

    What's your opinion of Emily Farris? Hint: You probably shouldn't have one yet
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
The Battle of Deep Creek

The Battle of Deep Creek @ Medical Lake

Through May 25

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • This Old House

    If it could talk, it could tell stories of three generations, along with a lot of griping from neighbors
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • On a Roll

    Just-announced reforms do little to safeguard Spokane against the danger of oil trains
    • May 6, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


Publisher's Note


marijuana


education


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation