Music lovers want to always be on the cutting edge and know about the latest in music fashion. And this desire can be considered quite natural. In addition, true music lovers want to listen not only to new or popular, but also to high-quality music.
The issue of the quality of the music content being played is becoming more and more relevant every year for most music streaming services. In pursuit of new users, these platforms are trying to introduce the latest technology and gain a competitive advantage over similar streaming services.
But some are wondering if streaming music is really as good and high quality as CDs familiar from the past? The answer to this question is not as clear cut as it might seem at first glance.
The possible return of the CD format was discussed at least in 2020 after the report of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Then, for the first time in eight years, labels’ revenues from the sale of records and optical discs exceeded earnings from online sales of albums and singles.
Today the segment of audio discs also shows positive dynamics. Over the past year in the United States, music lovers bought half a million more music CDs than a year earlier. Of particular interest to music lovers are booklets and printed materials in the kit.
At the same time, the resurgent interest in CD listening is pushing enthusiasts to experiment with playback devices. So, engineers turn optical drives of personal computers into full-fledged music players and connect small acoustic systems to them.
The bitrate of streaming services, which can be considered good, is considered to be 320 Kbps, and even then, not all streaming platforms have it. Hi-Fi quality: 1411 Kbps, only two music streaming series have such an offer, and even then for an increased cost of a monthly subscription. CD quality is 1411.2 kbps. As we can see, only select music streaming services can provide their users with this level of quality, and even then in a separate subscription.
There is an opinion that it makes no sense to talk about the renaissance of music CDs, because this format has not really gone anywhere. Audio equipment manufacturers are still releasing new models of players and turntables. At the same time, the discs themselves can always be found not only in music stores, but at gas stations and even supermarkets.
The CD player still delivers superior sound quality compared to most of the newfangled online music download and streaming services. Besides, nothing compares to being able to open the box, admire the cover, read the booklet and quietly listen to a whole series of songs before rushing to look for something new.
Returning to the subject of last year’s growth in CD sales in the US, it was negligible. In other countries, such as the UK, sales, on the contrary, fell by 12%. In this context, it is still difficult to talk about the grandiose and full-fledged return of optical discs. Most likely they will remain a niche trend that will never be compared even with vinyl.
But the full return of the CD will only be possible if the cost of streaming increases significantly, and streaming music platforms face any serious problems.