New and innovative ideas and products are introduced everyday. Some become short-lives fads, some make no true mark at all, but some are game changers that affect most everyone and alter that industry for the future. In the world of audio, compact discs were just this type of groundbreaking technology.
Compact discs were introduced to the public in the mid to late 1980’s. The advance was coveted for it’s pure, clean sound but consumer cost of CD players slowed wide spread adoption. In the 90’s, these costs came down and sales began to soar. CDs rapidly replaced 8-track, cassettes, and vinyl. These shiny, sleek discs were portable and offered unrivaled sound quality. The format was adopted for data storage and program application in the computer world as well. CDs changed the way things were done and have ridden high for the last few decades. In the early 2010’s, digital downloads began to take the market by storm by making music truly mobile. A small hand-held device, or your phone, can now hold the equivalent of thousands of CDs. This signaled the beginning of the end for this once prevalent technology.
The widespread shift to digital downloads and streaming media is leaving CDs by the wayside. CD sales have rapidly declined and were surpassed by digital downloads in 2014. This move is now reflected across many industries as major auto manufacturers are not installing CD players in newer models. Tech retailer Best Buy is stopping the sale of CDs after July 1, 2018.
The life-cycle of new technologies, even those as notable as compact discs, is shortening. Advances and innovation are coming at ever accelerating speeds. It seems that the only thing that will slow down the advance is the ability of retailers and consumers to keep up with the pace.