3 Trends That Prove CDs are Making a Comeback
There are many reasons why the CD continues to be a go-to option for music fans.
Although vinyl has made plenty of headlines in recent years, the CD remains a popular choice for collectors. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, 111 million CDs have been purchased over the last three years, and 2021 saw the first increase in new CD sales in 17 years. As the second best-selling format on Discogs, CDs continue to make their way into the hands of music fans, accounting for 23.1 percent of total Marketplace sales in 2022.
But how have CDs endured and why are they growing in popularity again? The best way to answer these questions is to break down the latest data from Discogs and look at how artists, fans, and record labels have helped fuel the CD comeback.
CD releases are regularly added to the Discogs Database
Hundreds of thousands of CD releases are submitted to the Database every year and account for 25 percent of all submissions. Contributors added nearly 295,000 CD releases in 2022 and have submitted 113,000 CD releases in 2023 so far.
As the demand for physical music rises, artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and BTS have contributed to the popularity of the CD by releasing their recent albums on the format. This trend — along with limited-edition releases only available on CD — has opened up the format to a new generation of younger collectors. Additionally, contributors have added older releases to the database in recent years, allowing new fans and re-energized collectors to revisit classic titles and add them to their collections.
The number of CDs listed for sale has increased
Since 2018, the number of CDs listed for sale in the Discogs Marketplace has increased exponentially. Today, there are more than 20 million CDs available for purchase on Discogs.
The past three years have seen a surge in listings due to a few factors, including new releases on CD, vinyl production delays, and renewed interest in physical music from Millennial and Gen Z collectors.
1 in 5 items purchased on Discogs is a CD
CDs account for one-fifth of the items purchased in the Marketplace. Since 2018, collectors have bought an average of 3 million CDs on Discogs each year. The primary reasons for this? Affordability and portability.
As vinyl costs rise, used CDs have become a cheaper alternative for music fans looking for budget-friendly copies of their favorite albums. The CD’s convenient size and ease of use make it an ideal format for those on the go and collectors who prefer to listen without flipping a record or dropping a needle.
Audiophiles looking for rich sound quality also continue to build their CD collections. These days, many vinyl reissues have been pulled from digital sources instead of the original analog masters. And, as the last prominent physical format before the arrival of streaming, many CDs offer a unique hi-fi listening experience.
Delays in vinyl manufacturing have inspired artists and fans to embrace the CD format. CDs can be produced quickly and inexpensively, so no matter how you spin it, Discogs expects to see more CDs manufactured and sold in the Marketplace.
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