Compact disc

Will the compact disc make a comeback? Ableton’s Robert Henke says YES!

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Will the compact disc make a comeback? Ableton inventor Robert Henke campaigned for a return to the increasingly obsolete Compact Disc music format. At a time when music streaming is commonplace and vinyl is highly prized, is he crazy? Let’s open this Pandora’s box…

Will the compact disc make a comeback?

Ahhh, the Compact diskthe cherished music format of the 1980s. A format that promised “perfect sound forever” and the first digital music carrier be widely adopted around the world. But 40 years later, should we still worry about this increasingly obsolete musical format?

Well a guy called Robert Henke think you should still care about the good old CD. If you haven’t heard of Henke, he was part of the original team that developed Ableton Live in the late 1990s; he is still active produce and distribute music nowadays.

In a public post on his Facebook page, he called for a return to the compact disc citing audio quality reasons and ecological considerations. But is his point valid?

Streaming and the vinyl revival

Undoubtedly, these days most of us consume our music through streaming services. But what if you want to own a physical artifact? Something special to place in your cabinet and enjoy? Well, many of us now have a growing vinyl collection; the vinyl revival has been in full swing for some time.

However, just as many of us put our CDs in the attic or donate them to charity stores, Henke thinks we should return to the format. Sustainability and ecological considerations are his main reasons for reconsidering the compact disc.

Making vinyl records, transporting them, and (as YouTuber Benn Jordan shows below) even playing them can pose significant ecological problems. But what about streaming? Well, again Henke suggests the energy consumption used in streaming is also problem.

Listening to music through streaming services such as Spotify, alongside listening to vinyl, has grown in popularity over the past decade.

A flawed argument?

As a former Hi-Fi critic and avid music collector, I feel at this point that I should give my own opinion on the ring. Regardless of the subjective and objective arguments presented, and their validity, the CD is unlikely to return. Why? Because the readers and gamers themselves have now disappeared from most homes and cars.

In 2009, Manufacturer Hi-Fi Linn announced that they were to stop making CD players. Just a year later, in 2010, the last cars were sold in the United States with CD players installed. In 2012, Apple shipped the latest Macbooks with internal CD drives.

That said, however, many of us were holding our turntables. Similarly, it is always possible to buy new turntables and CD players for those who are determined to enjoy physical media.



Will you come back to the CD?

What do you think of Henke’s opinion on the return to Compact Disc? Do you think this is the best format? Prefer the vinyl sound and listening experience? Maybe you stream all your music or, like me, do a bit of everything (yes, I still listen to tapes too!).

Write to us in the comments, we would really love to know your opinion on this one!

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