Music Fans Favor CDs Over Downloads

    July 17, 2009

Most UK music fans are still content buying a CD rather than downloading songs, according to research by The Leading Question and Music Ally.

Despite data indicating digital music will soon make CDs obsolete, the report found 73 percent of music fans are still happy buying CDs over downloading tracks. Interestingly 66 percent of 14-18 year olds favor CDs over downloads and 59 percent of all music fans still listen to CDs everyday.

"Digital is still the future but rumors of the death of the CD are premature. The continued popularity of the CD should be looked upon as an opportunity," said The Leading Question CEO Tim Walker.

Paul Brindley
Paul Brindley

"We believe that labels and online stores could and should be doing more to build on music fans’ familiarity with CDs to provide them with additional digital content and to use the CD as a bridge into the digital world. Music fans have spoken and digital is evidently not the clear cut replacement to the physical CD."

The research found that even though most digital music fans continue to buy CDs, there is little evidence that digital music downloads are making up for physical sales.

Those who are paying for a digital music subscription service spend more on CDs each month than most music fans ($27.74 per month compared to $18.70).

Those who stream music also spend more on CDs ($20 a month) and downloads ($11.54 per month compared with a survey average of $6.26) than most music fans.

"While we fully expect that digital will eventually replace most physical consumption, this is not a clear cut replacement cycle like the change from vinyl to CD," said Music Ally CEO Paul Brindley.

"It’s particularly encouraging that those who are listening to streamed music on their computers are actually buying more music on both CDs and downloads than the average music fan. This suggests that digital can and is being used as a way of sampling new music which users may then go on to purchase."