09 June 2004

"We're now training a generation of young people that there's no connection between music and plastic."

So says Josh Bernhoff of research analysts Forrester in today's Daily Mirror. This is in relation to the fact that Apple's i-Tunes Music Store is going online in the UK on June 15th, and will be offering music downloads at about 86p per track. Apparently it's already taken America by storm - 70 million tracks were sold last year -and experts are predicting that this will finally trigger the end of the CD. Even prior to the i-Tunes launch, there have been 500,000 downloads in the UK this year already, compared to virtually none last year, according to the British Phonographic Industry.

Now, even though I've been crusading for the MP3 revolution recently, even I was struck by a sense of impending doom on seeing this report. Even though I've bought hardly any CD's since I got my i-Pod in March, I still have a certain attachment to the old bits of plastic in their crappy jewel-cases and still enjoy the act of physically nosing around the CD racks in the music shops. The thought that those shops might not actually be there for much longer is scary. Maybe I'm still smarting from the news that my favourite shop, Imperial Music, is to close soon. Apparently this is due to extortionate increases in Business Rates, rather than falling sales, but I can't help feeling pangs of guilt about my lack of patronage in recent months. And even though I'm resolved to stick with the i-Pod/download route (because, after all's said and done, it's fucking great) it was comforting to think that the old method would always be there when I needed it. Yet, as a BPI insider remarked: "With i-Pods and now mobile phones working as MP3 players, CD's are no longer necessary"..

The CD is dead, and I helped to kill it. May God have mercy on my eternal soul....