We all knew this day would come. The downfall of the compact disc was inevitable once technologies like MP3 players and streaming Internet radio started gaining consumer acceptance. It was only a matter of time before the industry realized the trends of our times and readjusted their distribution strategies. However, the demise of the compact disc, although in the making for at least a decade, is only starting to show visible signs. Sony recently announced that it would be shutting down one of its two compact disc manufacturing plants in the States and commented, in no uncertain terms, that the main reason for the closure was the increasing dominance of digital music distributed via the Internet.
The era of the compact disc is officially over. We have not used them for at least half a decade (my personal collection of CDs is gathering dust in a corner of my attic). They have ceased to be a part of our lives. Compact discs will join the likes of cassettes and vinyl records, collected by fringe enthusiasts and ignored by the rest of the general populace. Like most technologies that have outlived their purpose, compact discs will be remembered with nostalgia but rarely missed.
Truth be told, I’m a little surprised that it took this long to for the compact disc to be retired and for plants to be shut down. Officials at the plant linked the rise of the digital music and online piracy to the decision to shut the compact disc manufacturing plant down, and they are spot on. Personally, I have not bought a single CD in the last two years. Most of the music I want is readily available online. Additionally, I can pick and choose which tracks I want from an album and get other interactive features a compact disc simply cannot offer me. I don’t even know where my CD player is right now! Likewise, millions of other people across the world rely on their MP3 players today to satisfy their musical needs.