Are CD Players Outdated?

The CD player is a piece of technology that has lived with us since 1982, but are they finally becoming obsolete?

Space wise, the CD player has become too large for people in the 21st century to handle. With the recent inventions of MP3 players, iPods, smartphones and some lesser respected devices such as the Zune, music has become more compressed. A CD player itself is a lot larger in size than most modern day music players, and storing a coupe hundred CDs can be a pain, as well as indexing them properly. Currently with people moving into cities and struggling to afford larger apartments, the space it requires to maintain a CD player and speaker system is too much for the average city folks-men.

Technologically, we store all our data on hard disk drives, solid state drives, flash drives and in “the cloud”. But where did this data originate from? A lot of modern music artists such as Approaching Nirvana only publish their music online in a digital download format. So these songs never leave your devices. You always have to make sure you have a copy of them on a hard drive somewhere or you’ll lose it forever. I always worry about losing music. Each time I have reset or purchased a new PC, it has usually been because the hard drive broke and other things were breaking. I have lost so much music over the years because of this, and having a physical copy would have solved these problems.

In recent years however, songs are stored online by iTunes and Spotify so you can re-download songs you have already bought to any device as long as you use your log-in information. There is a dramatic flaw in this though. What if your iTunes account gets suspended. What then? iTunes owns all copies of your music and you have no backups. You can’t listen to the music that you paid for ever again. Money wasted. Spotify has a better system than iTunes regarding your own music as you can still play it without having a premium account.

I mean really, ask yourself. When was the last time YOU bought a CD. Not an iTunes voucher, not on spotify, but an actual physical disk. The answer for most of you will be in the past year you would have bought at least a CD. However, an ever increasing number of people are buying their music online and never owning a physical copy of the music that they can call theirs.

I found out recently that I still enjoy collecting CDs, and that I regret ever buying anything on iTunes that I could have bought in a CD format.

About a week ago, I was in a record shop. I was with a friend, and I had never really been in a record shop before. Me and him just started wandering around, and then I found some artists that I liked, and CDs to go with them that I didn’t already own. As I wandered around I kept picking up CDs that looked awesome and couldn’t stop. By the time I had 10 CDs I realized that this was a lot of fun. Better than iTunes could have ever been, and at the end of it I was looking forward to taking all of the CDs home and playing them on my CD player. The thrill that I got from searching for these CDs and then playing them when I got home was something I had never had before with iTunes or Spotify. I owned this music now. No one can take that away from me.

Overall, I think that CD players are still a relevant technology as CDs are still all over the place. People still have their collections, and CDs are still manufactured coming out of studios. I can also argue that CDs are in a decline, but in 10 years time the market will still be there. Vinyl is still marketable today and it was invented over 90 years ago. The CD player is here to stay.


I'm a musician and IT professional from South East London. I am also the founder of Tech Taste. I'm also a musician in my spare time.

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