CDs are on their way out. Yeah, we knew that ages ago but it takes a little while for the great buying public to catch up. The battle between digital downloads and CDs just passed a major milestone though as Apple announced that iTunes has overtaken retail giant Walmart to become the largest music retailer in the U.S. Pretty soon it’ll even be bigger than Woolies.
Its announcement is based on consumer data collected in January and February by market research firm NPD that counted 12 songs being equal to one CD.
Analysts who predicted the shift are also pointing out that the same thing is likely to happen to books and video. However, even though legitimate music downloads are going from strength to strength, there are larger obstacles in the path of other types of media. Music files take up pretty small amounts of disc space (particularly in those standard shitty iTunes bit rates) and take very little time to download, where as movies – particularly high def ones – are still seen as too large for practical downloading at current broadband speeds.
Books have a different problem in that for some reason no actually wants to curl on the couch with a nice computer screen to flick through. The solution is probably eBook readers, but although a few companies are dipping their toes into the idea, it has yet to really spread in earnest. Sony’s Reader Digital Book has
a really daft name yet to make it across the pond or drop to a reasonable price.