Five years ago, if I wanted the latest album that was being released, I would make my way to the bus stop, stand in the pouring rain waiting for the bus, pay bus fare, make my way to a music retail store and purchase the album in CD format. Then before I could listen to any of the album I would have to wait to get home.
If I only liked two of the songs on the album it was tough luck really as it had already been purchased and the retailer had already pocketed my money but at the same time I had something physical to show for my money.
These days if I want an album I get out of bed, turn on my laptop and purchase it from a digital distributor such as iTunes. It usually takes less then 2 minutes to download onto my laptop and then at the click of a button I can listen to it. To top this off, I do not even have to make the effort of leaving my own home.
If I want to, I can listen to a snippet of each song from the album before I buy and if there is only five tracks that appeal to me then its goodbye to the rest of the album and hello five new songs. I am not obliged to buy the whole album.
As stated by the BPI the overall sales of albums, both physical and digital combined are down 7%, digital downloads are currently on the rise. According to IFPI there was a 6% rise in digital revenues globally in 2010. I am a huge digital fan, downloads take up no physical storage space, there is no chance of scratching or damaging the CD and it can easily be transferred onto and mp3 player to listen to whilst on the move.
The thing that spoils it for the music industry is the people that download music illegally from software such as LimeWire. It has become so easy to participate in and a lot of people do not see it as a crime; it has become socially acceptable.
For me, (legal) digital downloads are the way forward as it is for a number of people out there and I believe CD’s will eventually decline so much that there will be no point in manufacturing them anymore. CD’s vs. Digital? No competition.