People Still Buying CDs Despite Availability of Downloadable Media Formats

People Still Buying CDs Despite Availability of Downloadable Media Formats

Ask people where they get their music from and you’d almost expect them to answer iTunes. You couldn’t be more wrong. Fact of the matter is, people are still getting their music fix from (wait for it) CDs. Yes, the good old compact disc is still selling and people are still flocking to music stores to buy their favourite artists’ CDs. And Nielsen Soundscan’s got the figures to prove it.

Why People Still Use DVD

According to Nielsen, 193 million CDs were purchased in 2012 compared to the 118 million digital downloads made last year. This just goes to show that people still want their CDs despite the fact that they can download online media formats like mp3. And there are reasons behind this:


I asked a few of my friends whether they still buy CDs or download music files online and one answered that she still buys CDs, especially when they’re “something classic and collectible”. Collectability is why people still buy CDs.

Most people grew up being able to keep actual physical reminders or souvenirs of their favourite artists’ albums. Grandparents have their Beatles vinyl LPs, parents have their Nirvana cassette tapes, and children have, well, their Taylor Swift CDs (wouldn’t have chosen Taylor Swift as example but despite the predictability of her “boyfriend-breakup-hit song” formula, the kid’s got the album sales to prove that it works).

The point is that people love the tangibility and collectability of CDs. The CD, including the album cover with all the artwork, serves as a kind of connection one can have with the artist. Of course the value further increases when the album cover bears the artist’s autograph.

Artists, on the other hand, still love giving away CDs rather than asking fans to go to a URL or website. Even famous talk show hosts like Ellen Degeneres still love giving away CDs of artists that perform on their shows. And the reason for this is technology.

They Want it Safe

For one person, who loves his/her collection of music, it is hard to loss all his collection. Whatever we praise about Digital storage of music, there are some severe issues about the safety of your data. For instance, a physical damage or virus attack may cause loss of your music, which is quite intolerable. Despite the fact of some physical and aging issues, users can keep their CDs in a safer place so that no viruses can affect them. However, we should also mention that the services such as iTunes, helps you to backup your music in iCloud, which protects from mentioned problems.


There may be a surge in smart technology purchases as proven by a throng of subscribers being supported by various internet service providers but that doesn’t mean everyone has fully adapted. For instance, many still have CD players in their cars or at home. While recent car models have the latest infotainment systems capable of playing mp3s, many older models don’t, unless owners are willing to make upgrades. So what this means is that despite the fact that they take up space, CDs still matter to many.

Love for Sound Quality

Music lovers always love to listen to good quality music, in order to enjoy the whole listen process. There is a major issue while downloading songs from internet that the quality of songs may be bad. On the other hand, in the case of CDs, published by authorities, always contain high-quality songs in it. This is also a reason, why people prefer CDs than digital media. However, we should not exclude that stores including iTunes can get us high-quality tracks from authorities, which is legal as well.

Album Vs. Single

Fans buy and listen to an entire CD album to support their favorite artists. As one of my friends said, “I buy CDs of artists I like to support album sales and to have the best quality sound for music that I love to listen to. Digital media formats are simply, at least for me, backup files. It is tempting to just download mp3 formats but there should be dignity in consumerism, too.” Need I say more?

About Henry Conrad

Henry Conrad is a 29-year-old game developer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from gaming and being a tech junky, he also dabbles in creative writing, which allows him to create great storylines and backgrounds for his characters.

Henry has written 17 awesome articles for us at TechLila.


  1. Jake Blair says

    I prefer shopping for CDs because you can browse lots of albums and maybe come away with something you hadn’t thought of buying rather than searching for a specific album.

  2. Laura says

    I still have my classic CDs and will probably never part with them. I even have some cassette tapes for crying out loud..! But anymore I prefer downloading music from video sharing sites (with obvious attention paid to strict copyright violations) and saving them to my library via my RealPlayer media player (which was free by the way). It also has a built in converter which makes it easy to play my files on all my devices:

  3. itchy says

    I understand the nostalgia of having cd’s and dvd’s . But I am done with it.
    Id rather have all my media on my hard drive and cloud then back it up a few times.
    But I do think before we get rid of cd’s and dvd’s we need to jump on outlets like itunes to give us at least cd quality downloads and dvd quality movies. I don’t want to trade convenience for quality especially in these times when there is no reason why i shouldn’t be able to download at least 16 bit 44.1k audio quality. Also Itunes should provide a way for all the liner notes and artwork to be displayed for media that has them. We shouldn’t loose anything from cd’s and dvd’s but the plastic and paper.
    All the media and info should be able to be viewed listened to and accessed. When this happens properly dvds and cd’s will probably go away for the most part.

  4. Greg says

    I have a top of the line bose Bluetooth speaker, I have streaming setup I can also download and have a flash drive crammed to the max of mp3s Bluetooth from phone, have an mp3 USB player Fast easy convenient. But there’s times late at night with a glass in hand and friends around I crank up my class D amplifier Q acoustics 2040is and top line sony cd player and put on a cd then crouch back into the couch listening to music the way it was intended. The guests always say did you hear that or what’s that sound is someone outside, I look and laugh and tell them it’s the music you’re hearing things you didn’t know were there in the music, its that good. And I would cringe if I was forced to listen to basic mp3 crap next to this.

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