In between the #NeverTrump movement and Erin Andrews’ legal proceedings, you may have read the even bigger news that Kanye West has somehow managed to fall $53 million in debt. Astonishingly, his financial problems appear to have nothing to do with bad investments, but instead have been driven by lavish personal spending.
Oddly enough, however, Kanye is shifting his business model over to streaming, recently announcing he’s done making CDs. You’d think that even though their sales are in decline, marketing compact discs would still be a viable way for him to climb out of his debt. Yes, CD sales are way off, replaced mostly by digital sales.
In the chart below taken from a Minnesota Public Radio analysis of music sales, you can see the trajectory of CDs (red) and CD singles (orange) – straight down, while digital music sales have exploded:
But Kanye West isn’t the only one criticizing CDs. They have also come under fire from no less than Phil Collins. He blames the compact disc for killing the record album. As he recently explained to the Associated Press, there used to be a strategy behind how bands planned and recorded their vinyl record albums:
“Side One would have a good opener and a good closer. And Side Two would have a good opener and a great closer. You had to keep the listener interested enough to get to the end of the side and then there was a ceremonial turning over of the record. That all changed with CDs because everything was on one side.”
Of course, I have long attributed the advent of the CD as a catalyst that helped popularize Classic Rock as millions of fans started replacing their worn, scratchy albums with shiny new compact discs.
The change in music formats and how they’re consumed, packaged, and marketed is part of the tech disruption story.
Of course, it’s the music itself that makes the difference between success and failure, whether it’s vinyl, CD, digital downloads, or in the cloud.
Wonder if Kanye will still release albums on vinyl. The more things change…
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults Jacobs Media’s major market Classic, Mainstream, and Active Rock clients, while having input in every client relationship.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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