Are CD’s Dead?

Is the releasing of physical compact discs dead?

Big Sean followed his acclaimed Dark Sky Paradise to the top of the charts again with his 4th release I Decided.

Gaining number one on Billboard this time completely digitally with his new release showed an ever growing shift in the industry. He stated the reasoning was to prevent leaks and to work on it until the very last second.

Sean’s decision was validated when a week later Rick Ross’ 9th album and first release with Epic leaked online before his release date. With physical releases the artist has to turn their project in to the label which has to ship it in enough time to get to the retailers for the consumers.

Many top tier artists are moving from just physical discs to digital content.

This is no longer the days of old where boy band acts and pop princesses would battle over who can sell a million copies in a week.

With piracy fears and record sales decreasing there is more of a reliance on streaming.

According to Bloomberg Technology U.S. streaming revenue accounted for almost half of the music industry’s sales.

In a singles dominated market fans are expecting faster releases and engulfing experiences.

Whether called mixtapes or playlists the artist gives their fans a body of work not with unique raps over popular beats like Lil Wayne’s No Ceilings or Drought series but complete with both original compositions and lyrics available for purchase.

Regardless of name since they are sold the labels count these projects as albums.

Future made waves in the industry with his run of classic tapes like Monster & 56 Nights.

This year saw Future Vandross go literally back to back with FUTURE & HNDRXX.

He was the first artist with two Billboard chart topping albums in consecutive weeks.

After being nominated for Album of The Year Drake gave his fans a playlist entitled More Life.

Though available digitally for purchase his playlist made streaming history.

He broke records on many platforms.

More Life, in it’s first week, had 90 million streams on just Apple Music and 60 million with Spotify.

Because of this it went #1 & became certified Gold in only a week.

Chance The Rapper won 3 trophies at the Grammys for his latest release Coloring Book.

For each mixtape, including the collaborative project with Nico Segal and the Social Experiment, they were available for digital download, no purchase necessary.

“I miss that immersive experience, now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on their iPods and they don’t really invest in the whole experience…I felt like, I don’t want anybody to get the message, when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans”

— Beyoncè, on the unconventional release of her self titled album

Beyoncè revolutionized video with her self titled release in 2013. She continued in the practice of shooting a music video for every track which she did with B-Day in 2006. BEYONCE was released without warning and strictly digitally until a week later then with her Platinum edition complete with both the audio and visual discs.

Similarly with her most recent album, Lemonade she gave the visual first on HBO then she released it for streaming and digital purchase. Weeks after she then shipped physical albums to stores.

For her fans an album is an event and she doesn’t disappoint as she invites them to experience her work more in-depth than where a physical disc would lack.

CDs will eventually go the way of the dinosaur joining outdated platforms of vinyl & cassette tape.

The reliance on auxiliary cables and now Bluetooth technology shows increasing value to the ability of grasping libraries of music and content at the tip of consumer’s fingers.

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