Compact disc

So, are you mourning the death of the compact disc?


A shelf of remaining CDs, mostly compilations of Bollywood hits, ghazals, mantras, and American-English pop and rock hits, has been pushed into a career. Slip your hips into a crevice, have a dusty hour, and you might just find the Leonard Cohen Fire Swan Song CD You want it darker.

How did it happen? The saleswoman is puzzled, shrugging her shoulders: “We don’t stock CDs anymore. Ho gaya obsolete. A call to seasoned music critic Parag Kamani draws the response,

Sure I know. But for a traditionalist (read fuddy-duddy), USB sticks, I-pods, hard drives with infinite storage and most annoying of all, headphones are not my scene. My eardrums can’t handle the bass overload. And I think I’m in good company here. After all, lately AR Rahman has stated, without any form of elegiac commentary, how music has gone from 78s and 45s to music cassettes, then to CDs and now to downloads.

While the downloads and streaming are quite similar, I didn’t understand the difference. For more comfort on the extinct CD, I found a kinship in the statement of a certain James Vincent who wrote on the American site The edge Last year.

“Maybe 15 years from now we will be talking about the resurgence of compact discs the same way we do vinyl now,” he added, “with people writing of their thorny shine, their unbreakable format and the joy of browsing albums of around 80 minutes, track by track.

Compact discs, like films on laser discs, VCRs and DVDs, were to be phased out. The DVDs are still there, but only in the few libraries circulating in the subways, which continue their decimated activity.

On the hacked music and film route, countless stalls continue the devious trade, especially outside train stations and under the arches of Fort, the business district of southern Mumbai. These are downloads to USB drives that they mostly sell, in addition to the glut of dated remnants (including porn movies) on fuzzy and often unreadable disc formats.

In fact, what does a die-hard CD collector do? Few households still retain their CD players as a component of their home entertainment systems. However, advanced technology has made them redundant.