Not Single Anymore

The CD single is in terminal decline, thanks to digital downloads. High street retailer Woolworths - who sell more CD singles than any other retailer - have announced that they'll be clearing their shelves of the shiny round things in plastic cases (and sometimes irritating card sleeves).
At the height of the format's popularity 78 million singles were sold in Great Britain. That was 1999. In 2007, only 8 million singles sold and this year it's down by a third on 2007 figures. Woolworths stress that sales of CD albums are "alive and well".
But it isn't all the consumer's fault. When I started buying music in 1995, singles were more often than not loaded with anything from three to nine tracks (and sometimes more). Now, with dance music these were usually remixes of variable quality, but in the case of R&B and pop, a single often came with a handful of other tracks, often not found on the album itself - particularly in the UK. But in the last five years or so, CD singles have had little extra to offer, more often than not offering up a paltry two or three tracks for half the price of a full album. Record companies and retailers must think we're mugs.
The DVD single didn't catch on.
It's a sad day for music - a physical product replaced by a stream of nerdy bytes. No more cool cover art, rare B-sides, remixes, multiple collector versions, rummaging in second hand stores... Just a bleak, joyless future of mouse clicks, saved files, software crashing - music reduced to data.
Just don't come crying to me when your computer loses everything you've got in the blink of an eye.


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