Rest in Peace, CDs

SFGate.com: R.I.P. CDs Consider the alternatives to compact discs: iPods, satellite radio and hours of free or cheap digital music to download legally. Begone, bright discs and pesky cases! Begone!

Does this mark the beginning of the end of Red Book Audio CD? How will this affect make-it-yourself recordings of your family stories, your oral history?

This article points out that CDs are on their way out. The article lists 10 reasons (new music sources, how good old hissy-tapes of rock n roll sound compared to clean sound, Satellite Radio, online music, etc.) why CDs are on the way out.

I don’t care as much about the “let the market decide how I get my music” aspect as I do about the potential for longevity of CD Audio, the format. It began in the early 1980s (I remember getting my first CD player in 1985), so it’s had a good 30 years to get established. Hm. I’d thought that with the pace of change, that 30 years’ longevity beats out the “digital last forever or 5 years, whichever comes first” rule. What I want to know is whether there will be Audio CD players around in a hundred years’ time to play the music we have now? Is a 30-year market penetration strong enough to guarantee a long shadow? It’s not the music I’m thinking of, it’s the recordings I made of my grandfather. The recordings I’m making of my great aunt. The recordings I’m making of my mother, and the other recordings I plan to make.

I’ve been betting on Red Book Audio as a standard that will be around long enough that players in the future will be able to play them. Once the sound gets encoded into digital bits, it needs a contraption to decode those bits and turn it back into sound that you and I can understand. Will there be machines in 2099 that will play CD Audio?

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 30, 2005 in • DigitalityLongevity
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