Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Fidelity Belly

CDs are dying, because they've fallen into the dreaded fidelity belly.

Say what?

You heard the man.

Maybe a picture would help?

Isn't that better?

LPs beat them on quality and digital recordings beat them on convenience so, so long to "perfect sound forever".

I don't think this is right.

CDs killed off Vinyl as a mass market product and MP3 players then killed off CDs. All because of convenience.

Vinyl has made a resurgence among hipsters, youth, hard-core audiophiles, and folks who want to roll the perfect blunt, but it is very much a niche product and will remain one.

By the way, if you have a hipster, youth, or blunt roller on your shopping list, the NY Times has some advice for you.


Anonymous said...

OK. but it quoted some guy who runs the "rock and roll hall of fame" in cleveland! It's that ironic? If it's serious, then music is dead to me.

Wait, if it's true that would be even more ironic...right?

JR said...

Any econ major can see that it's easy to draw an indifference curve that makes CDs the preferred format.

G Wolf said...

No one buys CD's anymore because: (a) you can download basically everything you want in a digital format from iTunes or Amazon or any number of other sites, or just go to your local library and borrow/rip/return them (like I do), or listen to it on Spotify; and (b) they are so friggin expensive that it's just not worth it (see "a").

Unknown said...

Did someone say LPs have better sound than cds? The hiss, pops and crackles are so loud I may have misheard...

Mark said...

When you read the article, it becomes clear that "fidelity" does not mean sound quality. The article quotes Kevin Maney's definition of fidelity as "the richest user experience".

Further down, it clarifies this when it comes to what that means:

It isn’t necessarily sound quality (except among self-described audiophiles)... the real appeal of vinyl stems from interaction with an LP as a satisfying physical object — large format album art, liner notes, even having to flip sides.

IMHO this is a bizarre definition of fidelity when it comes to recorded music, which defines the word quite differently. But given that definition, the above graphic makes at least a little more sense. Personally, I don't believe that most people would say the user experience with vinyl is richer than with CDs. I suspect for most people the user experience is pretty much exclusively related to sound quality.