Updated 10/15/2012 06:05 PM
Compact discs are far from over the hill at 30 years old
Call it the sweet sound of success. While other forms of technology have come and gone, the compact disc reached its 30th anniversary. But fewer people are cranking up the volume on CD players to celebrate. Our Sarah Blazonis has more on whether the milestone is the beginning of the end for discs.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sound Garden Manager Ron Cicoria remembers driving half an hour to the nearest record store to buy his first CD. The year was 1984 and hair metal was big.
"The first CD I bought was Motley Crue 'Too Fast for Love,'" said Cicoria. "I had just bought my CD player, single deck."
SU professor David Rezak says shoppers loved CDs when they hit store shelves in 1982 because they were portable and convenient. Record labels loved them because they were a financial gold mine.
"Everybody re-bought their collection so that not only were labels releasing new artists and new product from established artists, but they were re-releasing their entire back catalog," said Rezak, director of SU's Music and Entertainment Industries Bandier Program.
Turning 30 isn't the only milestone the format reached lately. Last year also marked the first time that digital sales outpaced sales of actual CDs. But that doesn't mean you need to retire your CD player just yet.
"I don't see the CD being phased out entirely," said Rezak. "I think what you probably will see is that on the fringes, for things that are broadly distributed, they will do that only when they are confident that they won't get a lot of returns."
The Nielsen Company and Billboard report overall album sales were up 3.2 percent in 2011 compared to the year before.
Cicoria says even though digital music had a slight edge, his store's seen strong demand for CDs themselves.
"The good thing is, there's not going to be anything to replace the CD as far as people who want to hold the art in their hands and own it," he said.
So while the CD may be 30, it's not over the hill yet.