Music in Physical Format: A Renewed Success or is Going to Disappear?

Music in Physical Format is Far from Extinct. With Vinyl and CD Album Sales on the Rise, the Future for the Business Promises to be Bright..

Compact discs in a store

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LatinAmerican Post | Pablo Arrivillaga

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Leer en español: Música en formato físico: ¿un éxito renovado o apunto de desaparecer?

Over the years, music has adapted to various technological advances that have made access easy and affordable for everyone. Music today is within reach for everyone just by accessing a streaming music platform. These do not need a subscription to play the music of the artists of your choice (although some pose certain limitations by not having a paid subscription) and can be heard anywhere in the world.

However, there are music fans who do not let the physical format die and although there are artists who promote environmental protection and have stopped producing their albums in palpable copies, the vinyl, CD and cassette market are still alive and they do not seem to give respite between the collectors to the old style.

Far from being forgotten

The so-called "audiophiles" hold the constant discussion about which musical format is the one that offers the best sound quality and everything seems to point to vinyl and compact disc (CD) and in general, it is considered that the first one offers the best results. However, the advantage that makes the CD remain the leader in sales in physical format is due to the prices that are considerably lower than those of the LP and the ease of being able to play the discs without the need for an expensive audio system.

The growing sales have not gone unnoticed and instead of being considered as formats in danger of extinction, a bright future for music in palpable format is beginning to be observed. This is due to the announcement of producer T Bone Burnett, who has exhibited a new musical format that will be launched on the market in the near future and that promises to surpass CD and vinyl in terms of sound quality.

Burnett stated that, the so-called Ionic Originals, "has superior audio quality based on analog technology than other formats". In the presentation, it has been observed that this will be a disc similar to vinyl, but smaller in size and made of lacquer and aluminum. The producer has stated with great emphasis on the auditory superiority that his creation will entail.

The producer added that he has worked on Bob Dylan songs as one of the pillars of Ionic Originals, although he has not announced an official or estimated date for the release of these albums that will represent the future of music in physical format.

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The renewed success of vinyl

Music stores have been gradually disappearing in Latin American cities. However, there are some that manage to stand the test of time and this is due to collectors who continue to prefer to purchase their favorite albums in physical format.

2021 was a year of resounding success for vinyl, the classic format that has been gradually improving its sales in recent years despite the advancement of platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, among others.

The British Phonographic Industry reported that, in 2021, sales of music on acetate exceeded five million units, an increase of 8% compared to the previous year. In addition, it is pointed out that the purchase of vinyl albums represents between 20% and 25% of music sales in all types of formats.

The best-selling albums of 2021 were “Voyage” by the Swedish band ABBA, their first project together since their dissolution in 1982. Adele's album "30" was also among the most requested of the year, the same artist who requested a change in the playback mode of the albums on the Spotify platform, replacing the "random" button with the "play" button in order to that listeners listen to the album in the order that the singer had defined for each song.