Physical media doomed?

Tom at Webfeed Central made mention of all of the conventional music stores that have been closing lately. Our own Sam Goody here in Jamestown is one of those. The question raised is whether the usage of iPods and iTunes and the like is the reason for the closings.

My answer is yes. Yes the increased usage of online media delivery has decreased the usage of physical media. If I can legally download a song, and am able to transfer it to my iPod or Zen or whatever I have and listen to it as often as I want, I will. Convenience is key. The CD overcame the cassette tape for many reasons, but one of the strongest ones is the fact that it is more convenient to find a track by skipping directly too it rather than fast forwarding or reversing and hoping you get the right place. Downloadable Digital media is more convienent than CD’s. The usage of DRM software still needs to be fixed before the digital media takes over the CD media, but it is on its way.

The other Question raised was whether physical media such as CD’s and DVD’s are on the endangered species list. I think so. Again, the advances in downloading capabilites and other digital delivery methods will eventually push the CD’s and DVD’s the way of the 8-track.

Just because digital media usage has increased does not mean that the physical stores need close. If the RIAA and others would see the light and the ability of digital media we could see the revolution in half the time. Imagine going into your local Sam Goody and picking out that new album or movie, purchasing it at the counter, and having the salesperson download it onto a flash stick and put it in your bag. Now that’s my kind of purchase. I’m ok with DRM even. As long as it is used properly. I want to buy a song and have the ability to use it in three of my devices. I can do that with a CD. I should be able to do that with other albums.

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About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Actually, organizations like the RIAA would allow for greater proliferation of downloadable content if they are allowed even greater restrictions and control of the content you buy via DRM; the reason many media companies are not investing in downloadable content is because DRM, to them, is not strong enough to protect their revenue streams (or so their logic goes).

    Plus, with DRMed downloads, you forfeit many rights that you normally would have with physical media, such as the Right to First Sale and Fair Use. In other words, you can’t just sell or loan your DRM downloaded media to someone else, nor can you merely make a backup copy of your DRM media for your own protection.

    In addition, there have been instances of downloaded content being rendered unplayable due to a change of who owns the intellectual property, requiring people to have to repurchase the rights from the new owners of that property. This is not an issue with physical media.

    So long as you desire to be able to play your music on three of your devices, you are voicing support for physical media because, if the media industries had it their way, you would have to pay for three separate licenses to have the same song on three different devices.

    Plus, the 8-track fell out of favor because of some serious inconveniences in the format compared to the Compact Cassette, such as the inability to rewind as 8-track carts use continuous loop tapes, as well as quirky and clunky performance. If CD and DVD were to fall out of favor, it would not be because of the same circumstances that caused 8-track to go away.