As the only independent UK manufacturer of Audio CD, Audio Cassette and DVD Video, we are often the centre of debate over the future of physical media in the music industry. A conversation becoming louder and louder as streaming and digital libraries continue to grow.
Yet, from audiophiles and artists alike, demand for physical media is stubbornly holding its place and demand for formats thought to be dead or dying continue to climb.
Below are the FIVE big reasons we believe Physical Media and Retro Formats are so popular, and will be for many years to come:
1. AUDIO QUALITY
The mass consumer market has always desired 2 things from physical media – lots of music in the smallest space.
This has always encouraged audio compression, at the loss of audio quality. The ‘smaller is better’ attitude is further driven today by the limits of audio streaming and popularity of music on the go.
However, the true music lover NEEDS, wants and loves quality. A CD is less compressed than commonly streamed audio files, audio cassette is less compressed than CD, and for ultimate quality there is no better option than Vinyl.
2. A TANGIBLE PRODUCT
We take immense gratification when, at the end of a musician’s production we can provide them with their CD, Record or Cassette. Because there is nothing like holding someone’s music, often years of work, in your hands.
This is something we often hear repeated by the consumer. Owning, holding and displaying physical media allows a connection with the artist and their music which simply cannot be achieved through digital media or streaming services.
Humans are collectors by nature, we better understand the value of physical things and revel in the display of our individual collections.
3. ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
At Goldings’ we pride ourselves in producing quality media, made to last and to provide the highest possible audio quality.
But for the artist the production of their physical media provides a second, possibly more important opportunity. The chance to take their artistic expression and the meaning of their music beyond sound.
CD printing, inlays, booklets and packaging are all a vehicle for individualism and expression. They are a further opportunity to add value for the consumer. Many of our customers fear being lost in a virtual crowd – and rightly so.
The retro resurgence shows that expression can be extended to our choice of format, as well as simple artwork. The depth of sound from Vinyl and unique tones of Audio Cassette become an integral part of the music contained within them.
The Audio Cassette in particular is tied to musical freedom and rebellion like no other format. Representing a Golden age for consumers. An age where amassing a collection both large and personal became suddenly possible.
Music, for the first time, became a part of the consumers mobile life – in cars, homes, walking down the street.
Today physical media still provides a freedom. Freedom from download and streaming speeds. Freedom from data limits. Freedom from compression.
For the artist manufacturing costs are lower than ever - introducing freedom for indie artists to produce retail quality media themselves, direct from the manufacturer.
Nostalgia is often toted as the key drive behind the resurgence of retro media, and the continued popularity of the Audio CD.
However, nostalgia comes last on our list. The value of physical media stands for itself, with a wide range of benefits to both artist and consumer alike. Both Vinyl and Cassette are becoming more and more popular with the millennials, for whom we surely cannot apply nostalgia as their motivation.
That said nostalgia is a reason, many an audiophile dreamily thinks back to a time when owning a music collection meant buying disc, tape or record from your local record store, displaying in the living room and investing in a quality Hi-Fi audio system.
So, there we have it, our 5 big reasons why physical media is here to stay!
At Goldings, physical media has been our expertise for over 30 years, and we are looking forward to more of the same for the next 30. Keep on listening!