Blake's Beats: On the death of physical music

Blake Williamson is an undecided freshman who writes "Blake's Beats" for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Blake at

The sound of the plastic wrap tearing off of the case, the first look of the artwork on the booklet, taking the disc out and popping it into the stereo for the first time; this ritual took place every time I opened a new CD. I remember it like it was yesterday, buying a copy of “Abbey Road” and hearing the opening cords of “Come Together” rumble out of the speakers. I was hooked. The hunt for new CDs to add to my collection was on. Constantly seeking out different titles by different bands and pouring over every little detail, who produced what song, where they recorded it, who played what instrument — every little detail fascinated me. These first experiences with CDs will make them always have a special place in my heart.

When I learned that Best Buy, one of the biggest CD retailers in the nation, was stopping their sales of all compact discs effective July 1, I lost a little bit of hope for the future of music as we know it. The unmatchable aspect of being able to actually hold a piece of music in your hand, and appreciate it for years is something that future generations might not be able to comprehend.

The rise of streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify have caused a sizable hit in record labels and CD sellers. People are just not buying CDs in the way they used to, a lot of major distributors are currently phasing out sales or have plans in place to stop sales all together. This negatively affects not only the artist, but the listener as well.  

People in the 17-30 age range all grew up with CDs in their lives, when wanting to change the song wasn’t as easy as pressing a button on a screen. The decrease in appreciation for physical music causes a lot of nostalgia for physical music. CDs are just the latest nail in the casket of physical music. This happened with vinyl, cassettes, and now CDs are the next to go. This means that less and less people are going to have that connection with the music that goes deeper than a MP3 file. 

Malena Smythe, a sophomore, said “Being raised with vinyl gave me the appreciation for listening to albums all the way through. The way the artists meant their songs to be heard. Also the quality is just so much better than any MP3.”

This sentiment is shared among other students who have the same fond memories of physical music. Sydney George, a sophomore, stated that “CDs have lost meaning since my childhood, with that, you lose the meaning of the piece of music. Future generations will never appreciate the album as a piece of art, rather than something you just press play on”.

The Warner Music Group offering voluntary buyouts for all 130 staff members who have the task of producing the physical product sums up the whole situation perfectly. There is just simply no need for CDs anymore. Even with artists offering unique packages along with the purchase of a CD, or combining the CD with a concert ticket, the future or the antiquated CD isn't too bright. That doesn't mean we can pronounce the CD dead just yet, I have faith that there are people who still have the love for music. The real love. The love that goes deeper than a Spotify account. The CD or any piece of physical music can never truly die, because there will always be the people that care about preserving the art. Even if the CD dies, the spirit will live on forever. 


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