Music does not only evolve through genres depending on each decade, but also through the technologies which are used to supply it. From the introduction of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877, when music was first captured and then reproduced, to Spotify taking over the industry with its online streaming services in 2006, technology has impacted musicians and listeners alike.
The gap between these two time periods was filled with broadcast radio and later vinyl and cassettes, which generated love and nostalgia among listeners and collectors. The biggest transformation, occurred after the introduction of CDs in the early 1980s, but by the late 1990s, mp3’s and gadgets such as iPods slowly began gaining attention of consumers through the idea of downloading. That is when the CDs’ popularity began to diminish. Music streaming services have devalued the worth of CDs, leading to a termination of the production of physical copies through the invention of a more flexible technology which allows consumers to create their own playlists, thus having control over what they listen to.
If CDs had a decade of dominance and fame, the decade would be the 1990’s, the golden era before downloading began becoming a trend. The first CD, however, was launched and developed in 1982 through a collaboration between Sony and Philips.
In the 90s, artists such as Michael Jackson, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Billy Joel were some of the musicians who sold millions of albums, setting records which still have not been broken.
A major reason for the disappearance of CDs is their inefficiency. People tend to look for easy, safe, and accessible options when it comes to buying, and the fact that CDs were easily damaged and had to be taken good care of in order for them to work ‘turned off’ consumers who are always ready to ‘turn on’ the latest devices.
The shift from physical album copies to online music streaming services has fundamentally altered the structure of the industry as well as the way music is distributed and interpreted.
Online streaming services have provided a new means of music consumption, ‘killing’ the CD industry. Even though CDs will always be a significant part of the history of the music industry, doors are constantly opening to new technologies which are better adapted to today’s digital era.