Amazon announced AutoRip on Thursday, a free service that gives consumers a cloud-based backup for every CD they’ve bought from the company since 1998.
For Amazon, it’s another move towards ensuring that consumers consider the company their primary stream of content, whatever the format. However, the introduction of the service raises another question: Why are people still buying CDs in 2013? After all, most music is available online in a format that’s usually cheaper than CDs and doesn’t take up shelf space.
Though there’s some debate on the issue, David Bakula, SVP of client development for Nielsen, believes that the sound quality of downloaded music isn’t on par with music on a CD.
“The majority of music buyers purchase CDs and don’t buy digital so there’s a large non-digital population,” says Russ Crupnick, SVP of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “They simply never had the need or motivation to buy digital downloads.”
A couple of analysts mentioned country music as a genre in which the majority of purchases are still via CD. “Country fans are still going to big chains [to buy music],” says Glenn Peoples, senior editorial analyst at Billboard.
People still listen to a lot of their music in their cars,which are still adapting to the digital changes. “As long as cars have CD players, there’s a market for them,” says Crupnick.
When people really like the artist, they want a physical package with the artwork. CDs offer that offer a kind of connection with the artist.” Crupnick agrees: “Uber fans like to have the physical version in addition to/instead of digital for artists where they have a strong affinity.”