Will Compact Disc make a comeback? Ableton’s inventor, Robert Henke, has campaigned for a return to the increasingly obsolete Compact Disc music format. In an era where streaming music is commonplace, and vinyl is highly prised, is he mad? Let’s open up that can of worms…
Will Compact Disc make a comeback?
Ahhh, the Compact Disc, the darling music format of the 1980s. A format that promised “perfect sound forever” and the first digital music medium to be mass adopted across the world. 40 years on though, should we still care about this increasingly obsolete music format?
Well, a guy called Robert Henke thinks you should still care about good old CD. If you haven’t heard of Henke, he was one of the original team that developed Ableton Live in the late 1990s; he is still actively producing and releasing music to this day.
In a public post on his Facebook page, he’s called for a return to Compact Disc citing grounds of audio quality and ecological considerations. But is his point valid?
Streaming and the Vinyl Revival
Undoubtedly, nowadays most of us consume our music via streaming services. But what if you want to own a physical artefact? Something special to place in your cabinet and enjoy? Well, many of us now have a developing vinyl collection; the vinyl revival has been in full swing for some time.
However, just as many of us are putting our CDs in the loft or donating them to charity shops, Henke believes we should be returning to the format. Sustainability and ecological considerations are his main grounds for reconsidering compact disc.
Manufacturing vinyl records, transporting them and (as YouTuber Benn Jordan shows below) even playing them, can pose significant ecological issues. But what about streaming? Well, here again, Henke suggests the energy consumption used in streaming is also problematic.
A Flawed Argument?
As a former Hi-Fi reviewer and an avid music collector, I feel at this point that I should throw my own opinion into the ring. Regardless of the subjective and objective arguments presented, and their validity, it’s unlikely CD will make a comeback. Why? Because the drives and players themselves have now disappeared from most homes and cars.
Back in 2009, Hi-Fi manufacturer Linn announced they were to stop making CD players. Just one year later, in 2010, the last cars were sold in the USA with CD players fitted. Back in 2012 apple shipped the last Macbooks with internal CD drives.
With that said, however, there were plenty of us that held onto our turntables. Equally, it’s still possible to buy brand new turntables and CD players for those determined to enjoy physical media.
Will you go back to CD?
What’s your view on Henke’s opinion on returning to Compact Disc? Do you believe it’s the better format? Do you prefer the sound of vinyl and the listening experience? Maybe you stream all your music, or like me, dabble in a bit of everything (yes I still listen to cassette tapes too!).
Drop us a line in the comments, we’d really love to hear your thoughts on this one!
- Listening to music via streaming services such as Spotify, alongside vinyl listening, has gained great popularity in the last decade.: Bob Malkowski/Gearnews