There's no denying that CDs are on the way out, with unit sales falling another 16% in 2014 from the previous year. It's true that it's just a matter of time before the format goes the way of the vinyl record (although there's been a recent resurgence), the 8 track tape and the cassette. What's interesting is that the 144.1 million CDs officially reported as sold by the RIAA in 2014 doesn't represent the real total by a long shot.
The CD sales listed in the annual revenue statistics revolve around sales reported via Nielsen Soundscan, the retail system that registers the sale at the point of purchase by scanning the barcode.
While that's most likely the majority of CD sales sold at retailers and online giants like Amazon, it isn't all of them though. CDs sold by artists and bands at their gigs or on their websites aren't counted. Neither are CDs sold at worship events. And of course, bootleg CDs aren't in those totals either. In fact, there's a huge underground economy still based on the CD that just doesn't register on the RIAA's radar.
That said, the CD business is falling and when it finally hits the ground, it won't be able to get back up. In 2014, streaming revenue from services like Spotify and Pandora overtook CD sales for the first time, ringing up $1.87 billion in revenue. Read more on Forbes.
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