Monday, 25 February 2013

CDs and DVDs: An Obituary

by Katherine Tobin

In the recent weeks, the HMV story has been a hot topic in our news. If you are not aware of the story, in the past years, HMV’s sales have been steadily decreasing, and earlier this month, led to their temporary shutdown whilst they attempted to find money to continue to fund the stores.  The stores are now back open and in action, but it begs the question – what has led to such a dramatic downfall for HMV?
Around ten to twenty years ago CDs and DVDs were the latest technology, with the new albums flying off the shelves into the hands of eager children, teens and adults who had been waiting in line for around four-ish hours to get hold of Britney Spears’ new track (or whatever you were into at that time). Now as the new CDs come out, these people saunter into the half-empty store, grab the CD and go, taking at most twenty minutes. It is sad but true that in this generation, the majority of CDs are bought online, off places such as iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. It’s quick and easy, and I am one to say that almost all of my purchased music comes from online sellers. In addition, this generation, as one of the most technologically learned, have used technology to their advantage, illegally downloading much of their music to avoid paying any cost at all. It’s no wonder then that stores like HMV are on a downwards, slippery slope.
Although I would agree with buying online, I do find it depressing to watch shops like these close. Having spent most of my life putting on a CD in the car, or eagerly waiting for my favourite band’s  new album to grace the shop floor, it somewhat disappoints me to realise that the next generation, or the one after that will not get this thrill.
Having new music is one of the best feelings, but having it in hard copy is better – having recently got into my dad’s old music, it was great fun to be able to play his CDs in the car again and I cannot wait to do the same with my children. Seeing a CD collection grow is great, and finding people to share CDs with (as much of my friend group does) is a great way to get new music.

And yet CDs, I fear, are on their way out. DVDs, I believe are the same. Although their sales are still fairly high, it can’t be long until programs like Netflix and LoveFilm take over our televisions and we avoid moving out of our seats to put on a film.  Long gone will be the years when we have to walk to the store to buy our technology, and though some may say all the better for it, it will be a sad day for me.


  1. I like having a physical CD, although the main way I listen to music is through my computer or MP3 player after I have ripped the CD, I sometime "treat" myself by listening to the physical disk the whole way through.

    If the CD's are on the way out though, I hope they become collectible, make some money out of my collection!

  2. In the world of popular music these things come and go. I remember that in the late 1950s my dad converted our old record player which only played 78rpm 'singles' so that we could play the new LPs and 45rpm singles. What an exciting thing and I certainly gave that a bashing through the 60s. His dad was a jeweller and watchmaker who had a shop in Granada Road in the 1930s that also sold records - and the cardboard sleeves had the shop name, not the artists.

    Even in the 1960s we bought records from little local shops (Weston Hart's were a favourite) or in the record sections of the big stores like the Co-operative in Fratton Road, WH Smiths or Handleys (now Debenhams) in Palmerston Road. There were no big music stores like HMV or Virgin in Portsmouth until the 1980s by which time records were vying with cassette tapes, prior to CDs. If the big stores and CDs go, I'll miss them although I'd advise Dan to be very careful with what he gets rid of. You usually regret it!

    Meanwhile alongside the demise of Virgin, Tower and HMV comes a revival for vinyl and little independent stores where you can find real treasures. One of my favourites is "Borderline Records" in Brighton but nearer to home is the wonderful "Pie & Vinyl" in Castle Road, Southsea. Munch lunch and buy music - perfect!


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