Discogs posted this two days ago, and it’s the headline on their homepage right now. The title is “3 Trends That Prove CDs Are Making a Comeback”. It reminded me of something that @rob or a MusicBrainz staffer posted not too long ago… Something about a wave of people wanting more depth from their listening experiences than streaming can provide, and how MB and LB are great for listeners like that. (Anyone have the link?)
Unfortunately, the Discogs post isn’t so concerned with the listener. They just want people to buy CDs on Discogs. To do that, they’ve created this fiction that CDs are a trend now. They say that some people buy CDs because vinyl has gotten so expensive. OK, yes, that sometimes happens. If the high price of vinyl does start a trend of CD buying and collecting, then that would be interesting. For sure Discogs hopes that happens, and they’re trying to make it a reality, but I don’t think it has happened yet. If it had, then they wouldn’t have resorted to these weak arguments.
Even though the post (which has no date or byline) is an ad disguised as music journalism, they could at least have tried to give it a human touch. Part of it is intended to convince sellers not to give up hope, and another part is meant to convince young people that CDs are desirable. Most of the reasons they give for the alleged comeback are just general selling points of CD over vinyl, which don’t necessarily explain any sales increases. Eventually it just degenerates into marketing speak about how CDs offer a “unique hi-fi listening experience”. What their own data show is that there is a glut of unsold CDs in Discogs Marketplace. Notice that their list of trends does not include higher CD sales on Discogs! (If the subtext had a title it would be “Please, Please, Please Buy All These CDs ”) That chart of the number of CDs listed, not sold… ouch.
In making their case, Discogs has nothing to say about CD sales outside the US, so that’s disappointing. They point to 2021 as the year when CD sales increased in the US, but that’s not a trend. CD sales dropped in 2020; they partially bounced back in 2021, then declined again in 2022. (Source)
I feel like they could have made a more coherent distinction between sales of new and used discs as well. The total number of new albums sold (across all formats) in the US has been decreasing for more than a decade. Meanwhile, 2000s nostalgia has been a thing for awhile now. Many of Discogs’ “most collected” CD releases are major albums from the late '90s through the mid 2000s, so there’s definitely some nostalgia-buying happening. That’s to be expected, I think. But it would be a lot more interesting if Zoomers were buying CDs for the first time because they discovered Nirvana or Green Day or Nora Jones, and they wanted to listen to them on that format.