There are tons of myths about how the music industry operates, and when you're trying to break into the business, these misconceptions can send you down the wrong path in a big way. This is part four in a series looking at common music business myths so you can avoid falling prey to them. Be sure to check the bottom of the article for more information.
The death of the CD has been exaggerated time and again. It is true that CD sales are falling. It is true that digital sales are rising. But that's not the whole story. Digital sales have not increased to the extent that they're offsetting CD sales. People do still in fact buy CDs. They buy lots of them.
Remember correlation and causality from school? There maybe a correlation between the fact that CD sales are declining while digital sales are rising - that is to say, sure, some people that bought CDs in the past have gone the all music download route. But causality? That's tougher to say. Because the digital sales are not compensating for CD sales, that suggests that music downloading alone can't be the cause for falling CD sales. Music sales are sliding overall. That means there's more to the story than the simple death of a format.
Are CDs dying? Possibly. But don't call the coroner yet. CD sales still matter.
What does this mean to you as a musician or label? It is possible - and some cases, it is your best option - to release music digitally only. It is cost effective and if you're a start-up or releasing your own record, it lets you get started with a minimum of fuss and investment. Some labels do work like this, and that's great. But that doesn't mean no one should ever press CDs. Depending on your genre of music, CDs could be very important. The final decision comes down to knowing your audience and meeting their need within your budget.
Need to know a little more about CDs versus downloads and music industry myths? These articles will help: