Should CD boosters and web hatas take heart in one survey?

by Jason Gross

2 June 2008


Like many ol’ fashioned music nuts, I take heart in survey that says that CD buying is still a popular hobby.  The problem though is that this is one survey, as opposed to all the other ones that keep telling us that the CD is on the way out.  In a way, both trends are on track- while many people do indeed buy up CD’s, the numbers keep dropping year after year.  The thought is that the trend’s not gonna reverse itself with each successive generation using the Net more and more to get their music and as record stores big and small keep closing down.  Just as with vinyl, a niche market’s gonna remain but I’m not too optimist about the long-term future of the CD.

Granted again this is only one survey but how about this other nugget?: “... just 7% in a recent survey said online information had a major impact on their music purchases.”  What’s that say about blogs and mega-sources like Pitchfork and All Music Guide?  Are they themselves just niches?  Is it a matter of how much each of them alone really influence purposes or that they’re not part of a large-scale pop market?  Again, I don’t think this study’s got an definitive answers or that it’s the last word on the subject but what would it mean if other studies back this up?  It would kinda turn our little online music world upside down, wouldn’t it? 

Radio and TV as well as friends seem to be bigger influences on purchases, according to the study.  The industry is getting hip to this, putting more music in commercials and even shows for placement, not to mention building street teams to help with word of mouth.  Web fanatics can take solace in the fact that a slight majority find out about new artists from online sources but that clearly ain’t the only game for labels and artists.  The web is sucking up a lot of attention, action and ad dollars but avoiding all the other parts of the media world is still a stupid move when there’s obviously plenty of life still there otherwise.

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